We Really Can Be Cheerful Givers

| Mon, Sep 5, 2011 | Set 1 Week 36

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At first glance, this promise appears to be saying that God will give back to you the resources that you give to those who are in need.

That would be wrong. He promises to multiply back to you the resources you give to those who are in need, so that you may live on to be more and more generous.

This passage summarizes Paul’s plea that the prosperous Corinthian Christians finish giving a collection for the suffering Jerusalem Christians. In the previous year, the Corinthians had agreed to start giving by putting something aside each week as God prospered them. Paul would soon be passing through to collect the gift, and he wanted to ensure that they would finish well by seeking to motivate them through what he wrote in 2 Corinthians 8-9.

He told them of the poor Macedonians who gave generously out of their poverty. He also told them of Jesus who was rich yet made himself poor for their sake. Even so, Paul didn’t want them to be motivated out of guilt or debt. Yes, poor people had given a lot. Yes, Jesus made them spiritually wealthy beyond comprehending. But here is the main argument:

If you sow sparingly, you will reap sparingly, and if you sow bountifully, you will reap bountifully.

While reaping certainly encompasses more than material resources, it is not less. Paul goes on to make clear that the Corinthians need not fear that their own needs would be in jeopardy through giving. Why? Because it is impossible to give yourself into a hole. Don’t give because you feel forced to (“under compulsion”) or fear that you would deplete your daily bread (“reluctantly”). The important thing is to cheerfully look to God as the Source to meet your needs as you gladly meet the needs of others.

So, no matter if we are poor Macedonians or rich Corinthians, we can be cheerful givers by recognizing that

  1. everything we have is from God,
  2. He wants us to start using our resources to gladly meet people’s needs, and
  3. He will love us for cheerfully giving by being the financial backer who rewards us with heavenly and earthly resources. He wants us to literally bank on him.

The resources he gives back to us will be our “bread for food” and “seed for sowing” so that we can live on to start the cycle over and over again until he calls us home.

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