Tuesday after the Ninth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 9:1-15 (NKJV)
1 Now concerning the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you; 2 for I know your willingness, about which I boast of you to the Macedonians, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal has stirred up the majority. 3 Yet I have sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this respect, that, as I said, you may be ready; 4 lest if some Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we (not to mention you!) should be ashamed of this confident boasting. 5 Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation.
6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. 9 As it is written:
“He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.”
10 Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. 12 For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, 13 while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, 14 and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
St. Paul gives us the model for encouraging Christian action. St. Paul will have no law-focused motivation or offerings of guilt from the Corinthians. He says, “so let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver.” St. Paul is not trying to stiff arm these believers into parting with their money. He speaks of their previous “willingness” to send a gift to help out the churches. Since they expressed this desire, he lets them know that he will be sending Titus to get this “previously promised” gift. By giving them time to get it ready, it will be “a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation.”
Christian action is to come from a heart which knows that God has provided, and is providing for, all things. The law shows us our failure to fear and love God. Out of fear we refuse to give of ourselves and our possessions to love our neighbor. The gospel message teaches about the love of God, whose Son atoned for all sin. We come to understand that God’s love toward us is abounding, unending, and indescribably generous. Through faith in Christ we are declared righteous. Furthermore, God increases the fruits of your righteousness (see verse 10). That is, we live lives of thanksgiving. Yet even this thanksgiving is God’s working through us.
We pray: Almighty God, Who works in us both a confession of the Gospel of Christ and a generous sharing of our gifts with others, lead us to sow generously that we may reap an abundant life of thanksgiving. Amen.