My mind’s eye saw their bright faces as my daughter detailed the day. Her kindergarteners had all chosen “teacher items” to bring for a goodbye basket on her last day of student teaching, and they were fairly bursting with excitement to give it all to her. Like little wound up springs, they clamored to see how she loved their gifts. My daughter was blessed; the children were blessed; and the cooperating teacher who had arranged the gift was blessed.
- When have you been so excited to give that you could hardly contain your exuberance?
READ THE WORD: 2 CORINTHIANS 9:1-15 (ESV)
9:1 Now it is superfluous for me to write to you about the ministry for the saints, 2 for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year. And your zeal has stirred up most of them. 3 But I am sending the brothers so that our boasting about you may not prove empty in this matter, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be. 4 Otherwise, if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliated—to say nothing of you—for being so confident. 5 So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the gift you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction.
6 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 9 As it is written,
“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.”
10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13 By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 14 while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 15 Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!
(Today’s questions cover verses 6-15.)
- In what manner did Paul say the Corinthians were to give (vs. 7)? What is God able to do, and for what purpose (vs. 8)?
- Who supplies the seed? What kind of harvest, and what result, can we expect when we sow from that supply? What do you think a “harvest of righteousness” is (vss. 10-11)?
- What does it mean to be made rich in every way (vs. 11)?
- What ministries result from this service of giving? What is the end result of their generosity (vss. 12-13)?
- Would you describe your giving as generous and joyful? If not, what hinders that?
RESPOND TO GOD
In our “me-centered” culture, everything drives us to store up wealth for ourselves. Even as believers, our end goal tends to be our own comfort and pleasure. Conversely, God calls us to “sow generously.” He promises both material and spiritual reward for doing so. And while we may be tempted to sow for our own gain, the truest reward is the “grace that abounds.” Praise, thanksgiving, and worship of God well up and spill over when we generously share the time, talents, and finances God has supplied us with.
- Pray to see God’s promised supply, asking him to reveal anything hindering your excitement to give.
- Thank him for the privilege of sharing in generating praise to his name.