Sermon Audio & Review
Pastor Tim Potter
- Category: 2 Corinthians
- August 29, 2021
God's Care for Those Who Share.
Remember that this whole section of 2 Corinthians 8-9 is bookended by grace. In 2 Corinthians 9:6-8, God is mentioned repeatedly, and His work is cause for rejoicing. When God is at the controls of our lives, He will care for those who share resources because they care for His cause. If we want to know the full capability of God's grace, we will meditate on Christ's riches generously shared with us. His divine reciprocity was given for a cause.
Paul uses an agricultural analogy in verse 6. Sowing quality seed is sharing according to what you have. The word for "generously" or "bountifully" has the same root as "to bless." This kind of giving will result in a quality harvest. When we intend to be a blessing, we are given the ability to bless. Likewise, stinginess has consequences.
God brings the results; we simply sow from what He has given us through comprehensive, prioritized sharing. Our giving ensures the church's ability to cast Gospel seed.
The world has many methods to get rich; the Christian reality is the opposite. We are not promised wealth, but we know God will give us the ability to bless others.
Verse 7 addresses individual and purposeful giving. This has a premeditated and planned aspect. This must be done in one's heart before the Lord. Grace does not force or coerce; but it compels. Christian sharing is not unhappy, grudging, or sad. It is not just a necessary obligation, though this can be hard for our minds to separate from planned giving. Christians view sharing as an opportunity, which naturally makes one happy. Grace allows the joy of the harvest to be seen even in the early stages of sowing.
The last part of verse 7 is often incorrectly used in the context of getting people to give out of guilt or coercion. The emphasis of the phrase is on God and His love. The cheerfulness is sourced in grace, not discipline. How do we understand this seemingly special love given in exchange for doing something? God gave a universal demonstration of His love through His Son and the free offer of salvation to all. He gives a special application of His love to each individual who places their trust in His gift. There is a similar love God has when His children really understand generous sharing prompted by grace. A parent's love for all their children is equal, while there may be a unique affection for a child who is especially helpful and self-giving on a certain day. This is one way we can understand a special appreciation from God for some individuals that doesn't destroy positional truth.
Verse 8 also focuses on God and His omnipotent ability, underscored by the repetition of the word "all" and its synonyms. In return for saints' cheerful giving, Christian sharers garner God's unique love and the ability to see God's caring ability for themselves and the flock. God's eternal grace, both spiritual and practical, continues to abound in their lives.
- How have you understood these verses in the past? Does any of your thinking need to be adjusted?
- What causes a person to be a "cheerful giver"? Does your giving produce happiness in your life? Are you sowing to be a blessing and reaping God's blessing?
- Is your individual giving planned and purposeful? How do you determine your sharing in your heart before God?
Tools for Further Study
Cross References to Explore
- Proverbs 11:24-26, 19:17, Galatians 6:6-10 – Wisdom about giving as an act of worship.