Cheerful Givers2 Corinthians 9:6-15Theme: Gratitude.This week’s lessons teach us that we should give willingly, generously, and cheerfully.
LessonWho is the miserable giver? It is the one who gives just a little, the smallest amount he can get away with, because he resents having to give even that. The generous giver taps into the characteristic of God so that something of the grace of God and the joy of God floods the soul. I never go around telling people how much they should give – though sometimes I come close.
When I think in terms of some of us who hoard our possessions, I believe that one of the best possible means of growth in our lives would be for us to give away a major chunk of our capital all at one time, or, failing that, if we do not give it away, for God to take it away by a drop in the stock market or some such event. It teaches us that we do not need those things to enjoy God and enjoy the abundance of the Christian life.
I have said before and I say it again, I think one reason why more of us are not richer is that God knows we would misuse it if he gave it. We would use it on ourselves. And we would impoverish our own souls. So, for the benefit of our souls, which is what Jesus is concerned about, he does not give us more. If he does give us more, it is a great obligation that we have to make sure we use what we have for him. That is the nature of Christian giving that Paul talks about.
The second thing is a great promise. In fact, there is a double promise. First of all, in verse 8, Paul says that if you give away what you have, God is going to provide all you need. He is not saying that you are going to get everything you want. There are lots of things I think that I might want if I had time out of my work to stop and think about it. I could think of a lot of wants. But Paul is not talking about wants; he is talking about needs. It is a promise that we will have our needs met.
Sometimes it helps to see texts in the Greek language. It is pretty evident in this passage, even in the English, because they have translated the word all, the equivalent of all in the Greek, as “all” numerous times. And you will notice towards the end of the verse, it is the word “every.” But in Greek, that is the word all, too. It reads, “God is able to make all grace abound to you so that in all things at all times having all you need, you will abound in all good works.”
If you worry about the future, if you worry about your life, if you say, “How will I ever get by,” know that you are not trusting; but if you are trusting, you are not worrying. I suggest that if you are worried, the best way to overcome your worry is to start giving some of what you have to other people who have less than you do, to people who have a greater need, and see if God is not faithful to his promise to meet all your need, making all grace abound so that in all things, at all times, having all you need, you will abound in every good work. In other words, you will receive so much you will be able to keep on giving.
There is a second blessing Paul mentions here. Not only will we have all we need, but we will be so enriched that we will be able to give to others even more. It is interesting how Paul does not get off the track. We often do. There is a kind of preaching today called the “prosperity gospel.” It teaches that if you give something to God, he will give to you. It is a way to get rich. Paul is not exactly saying that. It is true he is saying that God will meet all your need, but he never lets it stop with your need. He says God will meet all your need, and he will bless you abundantly over and above your need; but that blessing is so that out of that abundance, you may give more.
In other words, Paul never lets us get centered in ourselves. What we have is always something that has been given to us in trust. We are stewards of God’s talents and graces, in order that with faithful hearts, and with generosity, and a willing spirit, and cheerfully, we might use it to minister to the needs of others.
What characterizes a miserable giver?
How can a loss of possessions increase our enjoyment of God?
According to Dr. Boice, why does God often withhold material blessing from his people?
Why is it safe to give away all you have?
Scripture MemoryMemorize 2 Corinthians 9:8.
ReflectionLook back at what Dr. Boice said about the “prosperity gospel.” Where do you see that wrong teaching taking place today?