THURSDAY APRIL 5
SCRIPTURE: 2 CORINTHIANS 9
Paul continues a topic that he brought up in the previous chapter: the offering for the suffering saints in Judea. In chapter 8, Paul used the Macedonian church as an example to encourage the Corinthian church to participate in this important offering. You might also remember that the Corinthian church had made an impassioned promise a year earlier to be involved.
When we get to chapter 9, we discover where Paul had actually used the Corinthians’ promise to participate as an encouragement to the Macedonian church. Now the Macedonians had given but the Corinthians hadn’t. So, Paul is telling the church at Corinth that they needed to have their delayed offering gathered up because Paul was coming with some Macedonians to collect the money. And he didn’t want them, or him for that matter, to be shamed by the Corinthian response or lack thereof.
When we get to verse 6, Paul gives us some incredibly practical principles that should govern not just our giving but our lives. The first principle is the principle of increase which is we reap in measure as we sow. In other words, if we want a big return, we have to invest a lot. Farmers know this. They understand that the more seed they sow, the greater the harvest. Bankers know this. They understand that the more money they invest, the greater the earnings. This is a universal principle that God built into the universe that actually applies to our giving. But it is important that you remember this doesn’t just apply to our financial giving. It applies to all varieties of giving whether that would be our time or talent or our dollars or anything else.
The second principle is in verse 7. It is the principle of intent which is we reap as we sow with the right motives. This is not a universal principle but it is very Biblical. For example, it doesn’t matter what the farmer’s attitude is when he plants his crops. The amount of seeds he distributes impacts the size of the harvest. But when it comes to Christian giving, attitude is every important. We must not be sad givers who give grudgingly or mad givers who give under compulsion but glad givers who give cheerfully from what the Lord has generously given us.
The third principle is in verses 8-11. It is the principle of immediacy which is we reap even while we are sowing. Again this is not a universal principle. Farmers who plant seeds have to wait for the harvest. But this is a very Biblical principle. Although sometimes there is a delay between the giving and the blessing, there is just as often an immediate blessing to our giving.
Notice the repetition of the word “all” in verse 8. All grace, all sufficiency, all things, at all times. In other words, the abundant blessing from Biblical giving happens at all times. I take that to mean as you are giving, as soon as you have given, and after you gave, God is blessing.
But that shouldn’t surprise us. God is good like that.