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. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say,
“They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”2 Corinthians 9:6–8 (NLT)
Have you ever promised something in the excitement of the moment, only to regret that decision when it was time to make it a reality?
In today’s passage, Paul writes to the Corinthian church, letting them know—so they would not be caught off-guard—that he sent fellow believers to collect the generous gift the Corinthians had boasted about giving to the poor in Jerusalem. I think Paul was concerned that the Corinthians might end up wishing they had never promised that gift. He reminds them that God cares not only about the gift but also about the heart of the giver. God’s desire for them—and us—is to give to others out of a spirit of joy and faith, knowing God will supply all of our needs as we generously give to supply the needs of others.
I have seen many beautiful examples of the global church (including in the U.S.) joining together to generously and joyfully provide for others. One image that stays with me happened in a very small, impoverished area in Mozambique. The dozen or so church members gathered together in a tiny hut, seated on makeshift benches set upon a dirt floor to worship, hear a message from the Bible, and give an offering. When it came time for the people to give, an impromptu party broke out! They formed something like a conga line, making their way up to the front of the building, where they joyfully placed their gifts on a table, cheering and celebrating as they went! I had never seen anything like it. They gave with such joy! It was a humbling experience.
What is your attitude when it comes time to give? Do you believe that God is able to provide everything that you need as you “sow generously” to supply the needs of others?
- Read 2 Corinthians Chapters 8 & Chapter 9 to understand today’s passage better. Ask God to give you eyes to see and ears to hear what He might be saying to you.
- Spend a few minutes in prayer and reflection, asking God to give you a joy-filled heart that plants generously. Then, take the step to “decide in your heart” what gift He is asking you to make during Celebration of Hope to contribute to the work our global partners are doing among the poor.