2 Corinthians 9:9-15
Cheerful Giving, Continued
Our God is so generous. Our Lord said, “[God] sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). And here we are reminded that our God “has distributed freely, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.” Through God’s common grace, He gives to all upon the earth, not equally, mind you; nor is He required to. But we are also reminded in this passage that He gives especially to His people. And why does God do this? To “increase the harvest of your righteousness.” Indeed, that is why He supplies us with “seed” in the first place: That we may increase our harvest through our good deeds done on behalf of others.
But there is also another reason for giving. Paul writes that not only are needs going to be met, but better yet, the Corinthians’ gift will “also overflow in many thanksgivings to God.” Moreover, “They will glorify God because of your submission flowing from your confession of the gospel of Christ.” And what does this mean? That our giving to others, especially the brethren, preaches Christ, and causes others to glorify and thank God on our behalf. Our giving serves as a witness to others and drives them closer to the Lord as they receive from fellow-believers like ourselves. And what greater gift can we receive than to know that someone is thanking God for receiving something which we gave!
And then Paul mentions another blessing: That those who receive will long for us and pray for us. In other words, they are not the only ones to receive; we are. (Bear in mind, Paul is not speaking of unbelievers, though we should give to them as well for the purposes of witness, but Paul is speaking of meeting the needs of fellow-believers.) Thus, there is mutuality in giving and receiving: one party receives the material help, the other the spiritual help. So when we give to meet the needs of the brethren, it is only arrogance that makes us feel good about giving while receiving nothing in return; indeed we do: we receive their heartfelt thanksgiving to God and prayers on our behalf.
No one was ever meant to do all the giving and someone else all the receiving, not in the church, anyway. The church has always been the place where God’s people serve together for the common good and mutual edification. If someone thinks himself always a giver and never a receiver, that is evidence that he has a heart problem and sickened spiritual condition that needs attention. We are all givers and receivers, and mostly the latter.