OUR ROOTS IN GIVING
Read: 2 Corinthians 9:5-8, 12-15
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. (NIV 2 Corinthians 9:5-8)
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! (NIV 2 Corinthians 9:12-15)
Study: Paul, a traveling Christian preacher who owned, as far as we know, no real estate, no life insurance, and no retirement plan, wrote those words! That does not mean it is wrong to have any of those things. It does challenge us to rethink how we define “more than enough.” Paul stressed that God-given love leads all believers to care about each other. He told the Corinthians that the Jerusalem believers “will also pray for you, and they will care deeply for you,” stressing that the giving was a two-way street even when it took different forms. Paul did not invent the idea that God’s people should give freely (both in terms of money and in terms of time, talent and encouragement) without pressure. In Exodus 25:2, the command about offerings to build a sanctuary in the desert was “Receive my gift offerings from everyone who freely wants to give.” What reasons would God have for wanting us to give from free, grateful hearts without coercion or pressure? When have you felt the joy of giving freely from a grateful heart filled with love?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, open my eyes to the abundance you provide in my life. May my heart sing as, out of your abundance, I seek to be your physical presence to the people in my world. Amen.