Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 8:1-9:15
In our previous devotional we looked at the principle of sacrifice in Christian giving. Today we will look at a second of these principles that Paul shared with the Church in Corinth.
We should give generously [8:3; 9:6]. Writing about the Church in Macedonia Paul says, “For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will” [8:3]. They were exceedingly generous. They did not wait until they had more to give but began with what they had. This principle of beginning with what you have rather than what you want is wonderfully illustrated in the story of a desperate widow who came to the prophet Elisha for help. He asked her, “What do you have in the house?” [2 Kings 4:2]. The Biblical principle is always to begin with what you have got and use it for God’s glory, rather than wait until God gives you more.
Enlarging on this principle of generosity, Paul writes, “Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop” [9:6]. There are two kinds of money that we receive – seed for the sower and bread for food [2 Cor. 9:10].
All money that we receive requires that we ask, “Is this for myself to enjoy, or for seed to be sown? If we use for ourselves what God meant to be sown then we will have less seed to sow and not enjoy the generous reward and harvest that God planned for us to enjoy. The writer of Proverbs put this very succinctly when he wrote, “The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller. The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped” [Proverbs 11:24-25 The Message].
Incidentally, the generosity is not only in what you give but the attitude with which you give it. Again Paul writes, “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” [2 Corinthians 9:7 The Message]. Give intentionally, give thoughtfully, and give cheerfully! Remember the words of Jesus, “It is more blessed [literally, “makes you happier”] to give than to receive” [Acts 20:35]
Will you make an intentional decision today to honour God by being generous to others with what He has entrusted to you?
Why is our attitude in the way that we give as important to God as the amount that we give?
How do you intend to handle the truth that we have two types of income – bread to eat and seed to be sown?