2 Cor 8 — Give Generously, Commendation of Titus
2 Cor 9 — The Cheerful Giver
Thoughts about serving others
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One Reply to “Sep 27 — 2 Corinthians 8-9”
In these two chapters, Paul provides sincere thoughts about giving money for the common good of the people for the right reasons, the right time and for the good of all. Even as it is today, Paul straddles the difficult gap between recommending and requiring that people give money to the church. “I am not commanding you,” Paul begins in 2 Corinthians 8:8, “but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others.” On one hand, there is no command, but on the other, he reminds them that others are giving generously.
As usual, there is no holding back: “Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means” (8:11). As a side note, when I read this verse, my mind goes well beyond the offering plate being passed. I think about projects I’m working on, work I’ve agreed to do, giving of my time as well as my financial resources. Eagerness with results–what a concept! How many times have I seen the eager desire of someone to support an event or ministry only to be let down when it came time to actually do the work. Lord, please help me to be one who completes a task. Help me to earnestly accomplish that which is set before me!
Paul strongly reminds the Corinthians that they need to give what they said they would with the rationale that withholding their gifts would have a negative affect on the church. He’s not concerned about himself in any of this exhortation, rather, he is simply wanting those in need to receive the benefit for which they have been promised. “But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you in this matter should not prove hollow…we…would be ashamed of having been so confident” (9:3,4). He is reminding them of the “generous gift you had promised” (9:5). Do what you said you would do! I have that stuck to my computer monitor as a constant reminder.
“God loves a cheerful giver” (9:7) is often quoted when we prepare for giving back. Paul goes on to remind the people that this is bigger than just providing money for the church, “but it is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God” (9:12), “for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else…others will praise God” (9:13 reworded a bit). The world watches us with critical eyes. I pray that we will always remember “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for [our] sake he became poor, so that [we] through his poverty might become rich” (8:9). And this richness far exceeds any things we have on earth! Praise to God from whom all riches flow!