October 25, 2013
II Corinthians 9:6-8
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Alright, we discussed the five areas of our need in the last blog, and I promised an emphasis today on our material needs. As I said on Wednesday, one of the most prominent indicators of our trust in God is how we use our money. Paul has a lot to say about this matter, and one of the most important passages is II Corinthians 9:6 through 8:
…this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows
bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in
his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And
God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all
sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
You see, Paul is reminding the Corinthian Christians that they promised a gift to help the suffering saints at Jerusalem (see Romans 15:25). Believers in Palestine were experiencing persecution, famine and generally hard times. And the apostle told these Corinthian followers of Christ that the Macedonians (northern Greece) – who were also experiencing persecution – had already given a sizable gift to the cause, and that gift was motivated by the promise made the year before of the believers in Corinth (southern Greece) to do the same.
Paul uses the example of the Macedonian churches to motivate the same generosity in Corinth – II Corinthians 8:1 though 5:
Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the
churches of Macedonia: that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of
their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. For
I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability they
were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the
gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not
as we had hoped, but first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the
will of God.
Do you see the order of the gift here? They “…first gave themselves to the Lord….” Then, and only then, did they give their monetary gift! Why? The middle verse of our featured scripture – II Corinthians 9:7 – says it all: “…let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”
It starts in the heart! That’s where – in common spiritual language – Christ dwells by the Holy Spirit when you accept the Lord Jesus as your personal Savior. And when you understand what He did for you – shedding His own blood on the cross so your sins can be wiped away, and you can possess eternal life – that great gift from God is to motivate our giving back to Him – first ourselves, and then all our other gifts!
Giving then becomes easy. We give because He gave! And every gift I give to the Lord – whether it be time and service such as writing this blog, or sending off a check to further the work of His kingdom – is simply a “Thank you” to Jesus Christ for all He has done for me!
Now one of the great things about Biblical giving is that we have many promises from God about what He will do in return when we give. We featured two in today’s blog from II Corinthians 9, verses 6 and 8:
• He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
• And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always…[will have] all sufficiency in all things….
And two more in Wednesday’s blog from Philippians 4:19 and Matthew 6:33:
• But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
• But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
We will concentrate on a couple more in the next blog. Until then – and from now on – Give yourself first to the Lord, then cheerfully to His work!