God never intends excess resources to be hoarded, but distributed for the Gospel's sake in a trustworthy manner.

This passage in Corinthians discusses what Christians do with the normal excess that the Lord provides.

We have been making the case that 2 Corinthians 8-9 has more to do with local churches sharing resources than individual Christians giving to their local church. Today we will also see that the gifts in this passage are given out of excess.

What should a healthy local church do with their excess? 2 Corinthians 9:1-5 makes it clear that the Corinthians started the idea of taking up a collection for the Jerusalem church. They were the first of the example churches (2 Corinthians 8:11), even though they were distracted for about a year. Paul reminds them to be ready to follow through!

These churches had cultivated a burden for wider gospel outreach. The example we see is of like-minded churches encouraging one another. Today, we mostly see this kind of cooperation in the modern missions movement, when multiple churches band together to send a missionary to a foreign field. This was not the case in the situation Paul describes; these churches were helping another survive.

These churches were united by doctrine and mission; grace was why they existed. They shared with each other regardless of their financial demographic. (See Philippians 4.) Individuals sharing with their local churches should be an elementary practice. Excess is the norm when everyone participates regardless of their demographic.

This collection was a transparent operation all around. Churches can't help each other if they don't know of needs. Transparency gives opportunities. This should be normal according to the New Testament models. In American churches today, it is more common to see churches just hoping to survive.

When each soul understands the profound influence of grace in their life and the work of the Holy Spirit and shares accordingly, excess will be the natural result. Then individual churches will be able to share with other churches in need for the progress of the Gospel. This passage and its context only shows 1 church in dire need; all the others, in different areas and situations, were able to share with it.

Individual believers giving joyfully, consistently, and sacrificially is assumed in this passage. So is the fact that churches are using their resources for the mission of Christ. When churches get off-mission, Spirit-led believers do not trust them to share their resources, which are God's.

God never intends excess resources to be hoarded, but distributed for the Gospel's sake in a trustworthy manner.

God's grace produces 3 things seen in these verses:

  1. Collective eagerness to share toward the Gospel cause. The source is not human passion, humor, manipulation, or persuasion. It is divine grace.
  2. Collaboration in sharing and giving. There are multiple churches named in the context.
  3. Completion. Gospel goals can be met when they are stated and seen through. The temptation to covet appears if a collected gift is not actually distributed. Christians must never hoard resources at the expense of the Gospel mission.

Application Points

  • Just think of what we could do together! If every saint shared joyfully, consistently, and sacrificially toward the church's Gospel mission, how much could God accomplish through us?

  • How did Jesus give? How does that influence your heart regarding sharing your excess?

  • Praise God that we know excess in our context! We must use our resources for the reason that Jesus came. How can you devote your excess to promote the fame of Jesus Christ and help people to know Him?

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • Exodus 36:3-7, 1 Chronicles 29:1-19 – Everyone participated in giving, resulting in excess.

  • 2 Corinthians 8:9 – Understanding the profound work of Christ's grace. Jesus gave without qualification.