October 8th

 

Generosity

6Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9As it is written:  "He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever." 10Now 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. 11You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.  2 Corinthians 9:6-11 NIV 

This passage highlights an important aspect of our new life in Christ.  The area of our personal finances and possessions can sometimes be a hot button, as it’s human nature to want to control “our” wealth that we’ve worked hard to obtain.   

Paul describes a new perspective of thinking: “our” wealth is really God’s wealth that he has lent us to bless others. He supplies this “seed” for us to sow through giving.  Just as God has blessed us with many precious spiritual gifts through Jesus, so he expects us to disperse the wealth he has given us to others with the same kind of generosity.   

We are stewards of God’s resources.  If we are faithful in this, he will continue to entrust more resources to us.  If we are unfaithful by hoarding his gifts for ourselves, he will not continue to give to us.  Jesus shared a vivid illustration of this stewardship idea in the parable of the ten talents in Matthew 25:14-30.  The servant who buried the one talent entrusted to him instead of investing it was punished severely. 

God gives us a tremendous promise when we give generously:  If we sow generously, we will reap generously.  Some people may worry that if they give too much, they’ll run out of things to give.  God has the divine ability to provide for all our needs, so that we’ll not run out.  He will increase our store of seed and enlarge our “harvest” righteousness.   

Believing this principle and acting on it can be challenging for those who struggle with pride and selfishness.  Often we want to be in control of our wealth since we feel that we have earned it.  The reality is that God enabled the circumstances and gave us the abilities that made the wealth possible in the first place.  He challenges us to humble ourselves and acknowledge that he is the master and it is his wealth.  When we take God up on the sowing and reaping promise, we will be pleasantly surprised and our faith will be strengthened.  As Paul wrote, “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion.”   

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:

“Heavenly Father, Thank you for giving the greatest gift of all – your Son Jesus who died on the cross and was resurrected so that I would have eternal life.  I want to have a generous heart, Lord, like you have.  I confess any shortfalls in giving to you now: _________________ (specify).  Please forgive me for not being generous in those areas.  Please help me release any related fears to you and trust completely in your provision for my life.  Thank you for blessing me with the resources I have.  I am a faithful steward of the resources you’ve given me.  Please strengthen me to be a faithful and cheerful giver.  Thank you, Lord!  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”