Sunday, July 11, 2010

2 Corinthians 9

1 There is no need for me to write to you about this service to the Lord's people. 2 For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action. 3 But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you in this matter should not prove hollow, but that you may be ready, as I said you would be. 4 For if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we—not to say anything about you—would be ashamed of having been so confident. 5 So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given.

6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written:
"They have scattered abroad their gifts to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever."
10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, people will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

Questions to consider:
  • Find the principles of giving in this section and paraphrase them.
  • In what ways are these principles presently a reality in your daily experience?
  • What does this passage teach you about God’s character and role in the area of giving?
  • What initiates thanksgiving to God?
  • What do you learn about relating to others on the basis of what Paul assumes in his relationship with the Corinthians?

Possibilities for prayer:

Again we see Paul pointing out that giving is meant to be done joyfully, not grudgingly. He’s also careful to remind the Corinthian church that God is a provider--that He will make sure our needs are met. Let’s ask to be more faithful with what we have been given, and to trust that God will provide for our needs. Let’s thank God for the provisions He has given us, and to change our hearts so that we are cheerful in what we give, and that such giving is generous--in both financial and other senses.