2 Corinthians 9:1-15
1 Now concerning the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you;
2 for I know your willingness, about which I boast of you to the Macedonians, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal has stirred up the majority.
3 Yet I have sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this respect, that, as I said, you may be ready;
4 lest if some Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we (not to mention you!) should be ashamed of this confident boasting.
5 Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation.
6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
8 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.
9 As it is written: “HE HAS DISPERSED ABROAD, HE HAS GIVEN TO THE POOR; HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS ENDURES FOREVER.”
10 Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness,
11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.
12 For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God,
13 while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men,
14 and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you.
15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
There is a praise of God that is dependent upon His activated grace through us. Though our Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills and is the owner of universe-sized treasures, His provision of that wealth comes through those He graces to share it. By utilizing us as ambassadors and agents of His blessing, He is engaging us in His own heart, imparting His very nature and infusing His incredible power and resources through our steps of faith and obedience. As there is growth and development of this process, there are more and more demonstrations of God’s incredible provision that result in a praise of Him along with increased belief in His faithfulness. His purpose, then, in provision is not only to care for a need, but to also strengthen and bond a relationship with Him and His body. Faith, obedience, humility, and love are given opportunities in community that’s about more than just stuff.
The experience of this grace, though, isn’t one that is apart from our participation or effort. Like a farmer that can rightfully expect a harvest, the success of that harvest happens long before the combines hit the fields. The harvest requires planting that requires intentional preparation. A random throwing of some seeds produces at the level it has meant enough to plan for – very little. For there to be participation in God’s grace for provision that results in praise for His abundant gifts, there must be preparation that enables that grace. It’s in the very intentional allotment of resources to the kingdom, that there can be hope for the “all things and all times” kind of abundance that has a God account for every needed blessing. Those with the largest reserves are those with the largest outflow. Theirs is a destination for God’s riches that will be utilized for this purpose.
There is an encounter of God’s heart that will never be experienced apart from His activated grace in giving. If it’s better to give than to receive, the greater blessing will always be in a heart for providing with whatever is received. There will be great skepticism for any voice that would detract from a cheerful willingness to give. Whether it’s tithes, offerings, or material resources, it will not be the heart of God that is systematically instructing to remove its preparation from a life of grace. Ironically, the enemy will come with the notion that grace removes any requirement of accounting on our part, that somehow strategically planning for a harvest is part of an old and unnecessary requirement. In the context of this chapter, any voice suggesting the removal of an opportunity for greater strategies for sowing is a deceptive voice that is only intent on diminishing the sounds of praise at God’s incredible provision of grace. Those who adhere to those declarations have little hope for the harvest of a faith-sown seed. How much better to remove any shadows from God-empowered abundance with a lit-up heart exuding the praises of a God who is more than enough.
The promises of God’s bounty in verse 10 really hit me this morning. “Enriched in everything to all bountifulness(!)”
We don’t sow because of the promise of increase, but man, it is a precious one to grab a hold of as our hearts are enraptured by Him and we give out of our adoration of Him!
Think of it…cheerful: Willing, good-natured, joyfully ready. The word describes a spirit of enjoyment in giving that sweeps away all restraints. The English word “hilarious” is a transliteration.
9:8 Give What You Have in Your Hand to Give, SEED FAITH
. First, God is the One who makes all grace abound toward you and provides sufficiency in all things. All things beneficial for our lives come from God’s hands.
Second, we are given sufficiency— even “bounty” so that we might do good works. We are blessed in order to be a blessing to others! (see Gen. 12:2 ). The word “sufficiency” means “contentedness,” or “competence”— earmarks of the believer whose life is truly blessed by these characteristics as God increases him.
Third, the God who gave you seed in the first place is the One who meets your basic needs, multiplies your seed sown into an abundance you can share with others, and increases you spiritually with love, joy, peace, and all of the other fruit of the Holy Spirit flowing freely in your life (“the fruits of your righteousness”).
How great is our God! We have no lack in Him— only potential!