Why do people do what they do with their money? Second Corinthians 9:6-15 encourages us to radical generosity for at least 7 reasons and to make tithing our giving floor, not our ceiling.
1. Generous giving is self-beneficial (9:6).
Generous giving is self-interested in that it benefits ourselves—we sow generously so that we can reap generously.
This sounds like the “prosperity gospel” preached by many televangelists. However, those who use this verse to push such a “gospel” misunderstand and misuse this verse.
Paul merely uses a familiar farming saying—“more crops come from using more seed.” This is a simple and true fact. Proverbs 11:24-25 promotes this very same truth. God will provide everything we need.
The Bible gives no ironclad promise of physical prosperity. Christ Himself was physically poor. These verses aren’t earthly keys to financial wealth. Our desire should be for a larger harvest. We sow generously to, therefore, reap generously to God’s glory. Give to the Lord’s work generously, especially the work of the local church.
Pray that your church’s desire every year is to increase the percentage of the budget that goes to mission work overseas.
2. Generous giving is God-pleasing (9:7)
God cares about the motivation for giving. A secularist sees God as one who is always pleased. However, the Bible says that God is holy, which means that He is only for that which is good and right. His holiness is pleased by cheerful giving, not giving under obligation.
We aren’t under compulsion to give. Nowhere in the New Testament does it command tithing as is practiced and commanded in the Old Testament. However, tithing is larger than the Mosaic Covenant. Abraham and Jacob both demonstrate tithing prior to the Mosaic Covenant.
Actually, the standard for giving is higher in the New Testament. We are told to give cheerfully, not out of compulsion, but because we want to give. To give cheerfully, we need a new heart for change.
Paul wants the Corinthians in this passage to understand the opportunity they have to provide for the Believers in Jerusalem. Jesus said in Matthew 10:8:“freely you have received, freely give.” The word “cheerful” in 2 Corinthians 9:7 means “hilarious.”
What could you give to God and His work that you aren’t giving? Remember, God loves a cheerful giver. Give freely and you will know the glories of knowing God.
3. Generous giving is confident (9:8-10)
Generous giving is confident that giving is right and that God will supply all your needs. The man who fears the Lord is generous.
As Christians, we understand that our sins have been forgiven in Christ. Our lives have been transformed, leaving us with the desire and impulse to give generously to others.
Christian, why call yourself a Christian if you don’t give? Generous giving is confident that God will supply. It isn’t a promise of prosperity. You don’t need to be rich to be generous. All you need is to be content (Philippians 4:11).
Christian, how would your giving for Christ’s work compare to your own entertainment budget?
The great Puritan Richard Baxter ordered his giving in this manner:
Natural necessities (ex. food and shelter);
Public necessary good (ex. taxes);
Godly poor (ex. needy within the church); and,
How would your budget measure up to these criteria?
4. Generous giving is praise-provoking (9:11-13)
Generous giving brings praise to God.
The word “perform” in verse 12 is “liturgy,” which means performing a service of providing for God’s people.
What is it that extracts praise from your soul? We give generously ultimately so that God will be thanked and praised. In our obedience, God is praised. Our little obedience’s of giving will produce avalanches of good. Generous giving also provokes others to praise God.
Generous giving doesn’t have to be financial. Consider the person who gives generously of their time to share the Gospel with one person, or to invite a person to church—and the remarkable impact that may have in time.
5. Generous giving is assuring (9:13a)
Generous giving assures us and others of the reality of professing Christ. Giving generously is validation of the work of Christ in your life. We know that salvation is by faith alone, in Christ alone, but we also know that the Bible teaches that our faith is confirmed in our works (James 2).
For example, what does the testimony of your checkbook say about your faith?
In the gospel of John, we read that Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. Following His example we see these Greek Christians laying down their lives for their Jewish brothers. It is something that would never happened outside of salvation.
6. Generous giving is cooperating in and for the gospel of Jesus Christ (9:13b)
Generous giving is cooperating in and for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You should give for the sake of fellowship.
The Corinthians gave because of their love for Christ. The Gospel brings together worldly polarities.
The Gospel is made clear by our fellowship. Faithful giving leads to exponential fellowship.
In your faithful giving to your church, you support missionaries around the world, Bible translation, giving help to the helpless, and so much more—results of which we won’t know this side of heaven.
7. Generous giving is evangelistic because it draws attention to the Savior (9:14-15)
Generous giving is evangelistic. The basis for Paul’s exhortation is the Gospel of Christ. The indescribable gift is the gospel, the understanding that the righteousness of God forgives our sins. What God has done for us in Christ is indescribable (John 3:16).
What gospel is our giving displaying, as a church and as individuals? Does our giving demonstrate a “quid pro quo gospel” or one of an indescribable gift?
We see in Acts 24 that Paul did in fact deliver this gift from the Corinthians to the Christians in Jerusalem.
What have we learned from this ancient act of obedience?
Money is part of our discipleship. How baptized are our pocketbooks?