How much are you willing to donate right this moment? Putting people on the spot for donations or charity doesn’t always work successfully. We don’t typically respond well to such a direct request for our money. Instead, if you’re like me, we like to prayerfully consider several factors before opening our wallets. We want to make sure our gift is given out of joy rather than pressure. And we want our gift to be meaningful, well thought out, and for a cause that aligns with our worldview. In today’s passage, Paul offers an in advance, friendly reminder for the Corinthians to donate in response to their calling.
- What kind of qualifications do you require prior to giving your money?
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 1-5.)
- Why did Paul want the Corinthians to follow through on their promise to give?
- What words did Paul use to describe the Corinthians (vss. 2-3)? What can we assume from Paul’s confidence in them?
- How had the Macedonians responded to stories about the generosity of the Corinthians?
- Why did Paul give the Corinthian Christians advance warning that he was sending visitors (vss. 4-5)?
- How do you approach giving? What does your giving communicate about your belief in God and his mission?
RESPOND TO GOD
Jesus said that our hearts and our treasures can be found in the same place—we spend our money on what we truly value in the world. Giving to the work of the kingdom is not only important, but it is essential for the follower of Christ. How and why we spend our money says more to those outside the church than what we say with our mouths. The manner in which we approach giving is an opportunity to witness, and it might just cause those who are paying attention to be “stirred up” (vs. 2). When the time comes for us to step up with our dollars, we must faithfully and readily answer the call.
- Ask God to show you ways to give to his kingdom, both locally and around the world. Be faithful to his call to give today.