Read 2 Corinthians 9
1 There is no need for me to write to you about this service to the Lord’s people. 2 For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action. 3 But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you in this matter should not prove hollow, but that you may be ready, as I said you would be.4 For if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we—not to say anything about you—would be ashamed of having been so confident. 5 So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given.
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written:
“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever.”
10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
“How much do I have to give?” At one point or another, that thought has crossed all of our minds. What is the percentage that we’re supposed to give so we can consider ourselves generous? 5%? 10% More than 10%? This chapter says that when we approach giving with the mindset of “How much do I have to give?”, we probably aren’t overflowing with generosity. Giving out of reluctance isn’t exactly what Jesus hoped for in His disciples. Instead, the biblical idea of generosity is closer to the question of, “How much can I give?” Rather than giving out of duty, our attitude should be one that is actually excited to give! We get to give to others because generosity is one of the easiest ways for others to see the gospel in us. We don’t give out of abundance or compulsion, we give out of gratitude for what God has done for us. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He was generous enough to give His entire life, how could we hold any of ours back?
Giving with a joyful heart is one opportunity for us to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Just as Jesus surrendered His life for the joy set before Him (Hebrews 12:2), we, too, can give our lives cheerfully. We aren’t just giving because it’s a nice thing to do, we give because of all that we have received. God has unloaded His grace into our lives so that we might have life to the full today and eternal life tomorrow. How can we receive such generosity and then be frustrated that we have to give? God is offering us the opportunity to showcase to others the love He has already shown us. We can give with joy today because we know that our security isn’t in our savings, but in our Savior.
Why do you think Paul is so passionate about giving?
If Paul was looking at your life, do you think he would consider you to be a generous person?
Verse 7 says, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give.” What have you decided to give? Have you been giving cheerfully?
Did You Know?
Paul uses farming analogies in this chapter. If a farmer planted only a few seeds because he wanted to “hold on” to as much seed as he could, he would have more seed in his barn after sowing time. But at the harvest, the one who planted more seed would have much more grain in his barn. In the same way, Paul is saying those who give more will see more of a crop in return.