Key Verse: “In all things at all times, having all that you need.” (2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV)
1-2 If I wrote any more on this relief offering for the poor Christians, I’d be repeating myself. I know you’re on board and ready to go. I’ve been bragging about you all through Macedonia province, telling them, “Achaia province has been ready to go on this since last year.” Your enthusiasm by now has spread to most of them.
Reflection: (2 Corinthians 9:1-2)
By describing how their own “enthusiasm” had incited the Macedonians to give, Paul was, in effect, prodding the Corinthians to rekindle their initial enthusiasm for giving.
Paul wasn’t naive about human behavior.
The start and end of a marathon are much more thrilling than the miles in between.
It takes stubborn determination to keep going.
Paul also knew that it took a community to persevere,
Just as teammates will cheer their runner on in a race, so Paul was sending Titus and two other believers to the Corinthians to cheer them on.
3-5 Now I’m sending the brothers to make sure you’re ready, as I said you would be, so my bragging won’t turn out to be just so much hot air. If some Macedonians and I happened to drop in on you and found you weren’t prepared, we’d all be pretty red-faced—you and us—for acting so sure of ourselves. So to make sure there will be no slipup, I’ve recruited these brothers as an advance team to get you and your promised offering all ready before I get there. I want you to have all the time you need to make this offering in your own way. I don’t want anything forced or hurried at the last minute.
Reflection: (2 Corinthians 9:3-5)
Paul reminded the Corinthians to fulfill the commitment that they had already made (see also 2 Corinthians 8:10-12).
They had said that they would collect a financial gift to send to the church in Jerusalem.
Paul was sending a few men ahead of him to make sure their gift was ready, so it would be a real gift and not look like people had to give under pressure at the last minute.
He was holding them accountable to keep their promise, so that neither Paul not the Corinthians would be embarrassed.
6-7 Remember: A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish planter gets a lavish crop. I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving.
Reflection: (2 Corinthians 9:7)
A giving attitude is more important than the amount given.
The person who can give only a small gift shouldn’t be embarrassed.
God is concerned about how a person gives from their resources (see Mark 12:41-44).
According to that standard, the giving of the Macedonian churches would be difficult to match (2 Corinthians 8:3).
God Himself is a cheerful giver.
Consider all He has done for us.
He is pleased when we who are created in His image give generously and joyfully.
Do you have a difficult time letting go of your money?
It may reflect ungratefulness to God.
8-11 God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it,
He throws caution to the winds,
giving to the needy in reckless abandon.
His right-living, right-giving ways
never run out, never wear out.
This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.
Key Reflection: (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)
People may hesitate to give generously to God because they worry about having enough money left over to meet their own needs.
Paul assured the Corinthians that God was able to meet their needs.
The person who gives only a little will receive only a little in return.
Don’t let a lack of faith keep you from giving cheerfully and generously.
Reflection: (2 Corinthians 9:10)
God gives us resources to use and invest for Him.
Paul uses the illustration of seed to explain that the resources God gives us are not to be hidden, foolishly devoured, or thrown away.
Instead, they should be cultivated in order to produce more crops.
When we invest when God has given us in His work, He will provide us with even more to give in His service.
12-15 Carrying out this social relief work involves far more than helping meet the bare needs of poor Christians. It also produces abundant and bountiful thanksgivings to God. This relief offering is a prod to live at your very best, showing your gratitude to God by being openly obedient to the plain meaning of the Message of Christ. You show your gratitude through your generous offerings to your needy brothers and sisters, and really toward everyone. Meanwhile, moved by the extravagance of God in your lives, they’ll respond by praying for you in passionate intercession for whatever you need. Thank God for this gift, his gift. No language can praise it enough!
Reflection: (2 Corinthians 9:13)
Paul wanted his readers to be generous on every occasion.
As he appealed to the Corinthians to give sacrificially to aid the Jerusalem congregation, he reminded them that God is the source of everything Good (2 Corinthians 9:10).
Believers are called to be generous because of the example of the Lord of life.
A stingy Christian should not exist.
Generosity proves that a person’s heart has been cleansed of self-interest and filled with the servant spirit of Jesus Himself.
That is why acts of generosity result in God being praised.
Do neighbors see generosity in your actions?