9 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 freely scattered 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 enriched 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, others 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!
Paul is pretty masterful at appealing to the Corinthians to give generously, as they had seemed to promise when he was last there. He says things like “there is no need to remind you” and how Paul has been boasting about their generosity to the Macedonians, and how ashamed of his own boasting he would be if they were not prepared for him like he thought they would be. It feels like Paul is laying on a little guilt to spur them on, but really he is just urging them to remember to do what they promised.
It is clear though, that Paul’s message in this chapter is about generosity. Money and possessions are always a good test of our hearts. Are we willing to give what’s “ours” to further the kingdom of God? Paul give us a very important principle “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Now this verse can be and has been mis-interpreted over and over again that you will receive financial blessings if you give, and the more you give, the more you get. But getting can never be our motive for giving. Paul very clearly spells out what he means by this in the rest of the chapter.
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. and he also said You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. There is a couple things to point out here, Paul said God will bless us so in “all things, having all that you need”, and also “you will be enriched in every way” Clearly this chapter is about the Corinthians giving money to help the bigger church, but through this giving, God will bless us in return also possibly with bigger faith, with more joy, with more love, with more sense of purpose and passion, with more understanding of His will, and yes, possibly you may be blessed financially sometimes. This is what Paul means when his you will be enriched in every way. And with all these things, you will be able to be more generous with love and kindness and faith and joy and finances. If we hold back what God has blessed us with, our own personal ministry can not be as effective.
Paul sums up nicely what our motive for generosity must be. 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. Love God and love our neighbor, that is what generosity is about. So today, give generously what God has blessed you with. We are all called to give monetarily, but if you have encouragement to give today, give it. If you have an act of kindness to perform, do it. Give to those in need, love your neighbor. By this you are showing thanks to God!
Lord, thank you for your many blessings today. Thank you for the ability and means to bless others around me. Show me today who and how I can bless my neighbor. In Jesus name, amen.