2 Corinthians 9:1-8
The Cheerful Giver
Chapter nine picks up more of Paul’s instructions about giving, instructions which will bless our lives if we follow them. Please note that these instructions have to do first and foremost with the sincerity of our hearts, and not with the act of giving in and of itself. Giving is a good thing, but only when it is accompanied with a willing and grateful heart.
Well, having said that, I suppose the first point Paul makes really is a practical matter. We remember that he gently shamed, or perhaps challenged, them in chapter eight speaking of the generosity of their poorer brethren in the Macedonian churches who begged to give to the relief of the saints in Jerusalem. Now Paul tells them that he is sending some brethren ahead of his impending visit to help them prepare their offering before he comes—so that no one will be embarrassed when he arrives with others from the various churches to gather theirs with the rest of the offerings. That was nice of Paul. But it also reminds us of a principle we covered from 1 Corinthians 16:1-4, that giving is a spiritual discipline, something done on a regular basis. That way money will be laid in store rather than having to rush around gathering pennies when a brother or sister in the church has a crisis which needs immediate attention.
But there are spiritual principles here: 1) He who sows sparingly reaps sparingly, and he who sows bountifully reaps bountifully. Here is real encouragement to be generous givers, not because God is going to rain dollar bills on us when we walk out the church’s doors, as I have sadly heard some preachers tell, but because He is a God who blesses generous givers, who has already blessed us beyond measure; 2) God loves a cheerful giver, not one who gives out of compulsion. We are to love giving away our money and possessions, or at least being ready to let others borrow our possessions. My wife and I own a large van with which we used to pull a camper. But it has been very useful for mission trips and youth events as well, whether we went along or not. We are to see anything and everything we own for its “Kingdom” value and use; and, 3) God gives us ever more grace to abound in every good work; that is, we will never out give God. Indeed, God blesses us that we may bless others, and in giving to others we are never the losers because God just gives us more. I do not mean money, though God does that, too; I mean however God chooses to bless us. So we should never be afraid to give (though we should give wisely, but that’s another issue). We have been blessed that we may bless others.