Updated 3 June 2020
- Mark 12 - The Widow's Offering
- Mark 11 - The Triumphal Entry
- Mark 10 - The Rich Young Ruler
- Mark 9 - The Transfiguration
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2 Corinthians 9
Paul continues his theme regarding Christian giving. He commends the Corinthians for their eagerness to help and tells how this had stirred others into action. He also gives thanks to God for the indescribable gift of Christ!
The Corinthians' enthusiasm to give had been an inspiration to others and Paul had boasted about this to the Macedonians. Now Paul was looking for the Corinthians to honour their promises.
Paul was committed to making sure that the Corinthians were properly prepared and ready to provide their gift. He did not want it to be done thoughtlessly or half-heartedly, so it was important to make careful arrangements. The gift was to be carried by trustworthy people, who had the responsibility to collect what had been given and to deliver it to where it was needed. Paul also wanted them to understand that they should not give reluctantly, because God loves a cheerful giver.
The Grace of Christ
Paul now shares a very precious truth concerning the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor, so that we, through His poverty, might become rich! When Jesus left the glory of heaven to come to this earth, it was a tremendous change for Him. He was born in a stable; He was born into a nation that was despised and hated; He came to a world that had no electricity or piped water; He shared in the poverty of people in the world at that time and He knows what life is like for those still facing poverty in our world today. However, poverty cannot just be measured in material terms. We were all sinners and spiritually poor, so Jesus became sin for us when He died on the cross. Now, when we trust in Him, we become spiritually rich, we are forgiven and we become new creations in Christ!
Sowing and Reaping
Paul uses a picture of sowing and reaping to illustrate the harvest that comes from giving. Our gifts can be seen as a seed and, when we sow a seed, we are looking for it to grow and bear fruit. God has to be at work in this, because fruit comes from Him and not from us. So our giving has to be to God and not to men. Giving that comes from the heart brings much blessing.
Paul suggests that, before we give, we should pray and consider carefully before God what to give. This is a very important decision and we should not be driven by emotion or be careless. We need to be guided by the Lord and, once we have decided what to give, we should not change our minds, but we should give it cheerfully and generously.
Cheerful giving comes from the heart and seeks to please the Lord rather than men. There is often sacrifice in cheerful giving, but we have confidence that God is able to provide for all our needs. He will not fail us. God wants us to care about the poor so, when we give directly to the poor, we give according to His will. It is also true that the one that provides the seed for the sower will give us even more seed to sow if we are faithful. He who gives to the poor will lack nothing (Proverbs 28:27).
God is not impressed by the size of our gifts and giving will never earn our salvation - only what Jesus did on the cross can do that. However, our giving demonstrates our obedience, and the sincerity of our hearts, to do God's will. It is righteous to give and our generosity is a practical expression of our thankfulness to God. Paul is very clear that giving is a very important part of our responsibility as Christians!
The Service of Giving
We are able to serve God in many ways. Paul has been making it clear that responsible Christian giving is a way of serving the Lord. This service that we give is able to meet the needs of others, but it is much more than that. When we give according to God's leading, then the person who receives will see that this is not only a response from man but also from God. People may be grateful to us, but they will also praise God for our generosity. Giving is a sign of our obedience and part of the new life that we have in Christ. It is not like the world, where people give to those who they know will give something back. Christian giving does not expect anything in return. It is inspired by the grace of God and we want to give, because we know how much the Lord has given to us!
The Indescribable Gift
God has given to us most powerfully the gift of His son. There is no gift that can compare to the gift of Jesus! Jesus was given for our salvation, to bring us to God and to put us on the road to heaven. Hallelujah!
Points to Consider:
- How careful are we to make sure that the money we give to the Lord's work is properly used
- The temptation of money can often lead to unrighteousness within the church. How do we avoid this
- Do we carefully think and pray before we give?
- Do we consider our giving as an obligation, or a choice made of our own free will as part of our service to God?
- The gift of Jesus is the best gift of all. In what practical ways can we express our thanks for this gift?
God bless you!
Bible Study: 2 Corinthians 9
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