Thursday 7 November, 2013
2 Corinthians 9:1-15
9 I don’t need to write to you about giving to God’s people. 2 I know how much you want to help. I have been bragging about it to the people in Macedonia. I have been telling them that since last year you who live in Achaia were ready to give. You are so excited that it has stirred up most of them to take action. 3 But I am sending the brothers. Then our bragging about you in this matter will have a good reason. You will be ready, just as I said you would be. 4 Suppose people from Macedonia come with me and find out that you are not prepared. Then we, as well as you, would be ashamed of being so certain. 5 So I thought I should try to get the brothers to visit you ahead of time. They will finish the plans for the large gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a gift that is freely given. It will not be given by force. 6 Here is something to remember. The one who plants only a little will gather only a little. And the one who plants a lot will gather a lot. 7 You should each give what you have decided in your heart to give. You shouldn’t give if you don’t want to. You shouldn’t give because you are forced to. God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to shower all kinds of blessings on you. In all things and at all times you will have everything you need. You will do more and more good works. 9 It is written, “They have spread their gifts around to poor people. Their good works continue forever.” 10 God supplies seed to the planter. He supplies bread for food. God will also supply and increase the amount of your seed. He will increase the results of your good works. 11 You will be made rich in every way. Then you can always give freely. We will take your many gifts to the people who need them. And they will give thanks to God. 12 Your gifts meet the needs of God’s people. And that’s not all. Your gifts also cause many people to thank God. 13 You have shown yourselves to be worthy by what you have given. So people will praise God because you obey him. That proves that you really believe the good news about Christ. They will also praise God because you share freely with them and with everyone else. 14 Their hearts will be filled with longing for you when they pray for you. God has given you grace that is better than anything. 15 Let us give thanks to God for his gift. It is so great that no one can tell how wonderful it really is!
This passage is all about making sure the Corinthian churches are ready to give to the poor believers in Jerusalem. Paul encourages and exhorts the people to give and uphold the reputation Paul has given them of generous givers. He also motivates them by pointing out that if they fail to be ready to give it will reflect badly on themselves, and Paul, who has boasted of their zeal.
I’m prompted to ask myself these questions: am I giving? Am I giving cheerfully and generously? Am I trusting that as I give God will supply me with more to give away? Do I acknowledge and operate out of the belief that God blesses me with riches so that I can be generous on every occasion? Am I praising God for his provision? Am I thanking God for the opportunity to be a blessing to those around me, as I act as a funnel for his provision into someone else’s life?
Lord, thank you that you enable me; you supply me, with the resource to be a blessing to others. Thank you that even in my seemingly small part of giving away what you’ve first given to me, I’m joining with you in seeing your kingdom come and your will done. Thank you Lord that you enable me to make a difference in the lives of others, and thank you Lord for the way you have used others to bless me, in such ways that remind me of the greatness and constancy of your love. Amen.
Written by Beth Waugh
Churches are sometimes confused about the difference between compelling and inspiring when it comes to giving. v7 is one of the clearest guides for separating the two. It reveals ‘giving’ as a heart’s condition and God’s attitude towards genuine givers.
The chapter identifies the importance of decision and follow through which itself reveals the quality of the decision to give.
Beth, I really like the questions you ask yourself.
C3 Carlingford strikes an excellent balance.