2 Corinthians 9:6-15

The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. As it is written, “He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”

He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God.

Through the testing of this ministry you glorify God by your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ and by the generosity of your sharing with them and with all others, while they long for you and pray for you because of the surpassing grace of God that he has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:6-15

This section of 2 Corinthians is like the broccoli or spinach of what Paul has to say about the place of financial generosity in the life of a follower of Jesus. It is chockful (a word I seldom say or use) of wisdom, encourage, and challenge – the spiritual nutrients of a balanced and fruitful Christian life.

But that’s not to say that we all love to eat our vegetables.

Like Paul said of himself in Romans 7, “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” We know the difference between greed and generosity. We know the difference between selfishness, selflessness, and self-care. We might even trust that God will take care of us. That God will “provide you with every blessing in abundance.” But that still might not be enough to guide us into a healthy life marked by balanced stewardship of our time, talents, and treasures.

But the biblical principles remain. They aren’t going anywhere. And they are true.

“The one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” I have a friend who left a high paying sales job to follow his heart. He enrolled in an auto body program at a vocational technical school. Today he runs a garage restoring and rebuilding classic cars. He took a risk. He paid the joyful and sacrificial costs of his choice. He sowed bountifully and now reaps bountifully.

Where do we sow sparingly? What do we sow bountifully? Where to we invest our time, our skills, our passions, our hearts? Where and Who do we look to for security, for status, for power?

Notice the double blessing in Paul’s words. The generosity of the Corinthians will result in thanksgiving to God, and gratitude from those blessed by their generosity. Knowing we are a part of that is the “what’s in it for me?” side of Christian stewardship.

And finally, notice that Paul ends with his reminders that generosity is also an act of obedience. It is doing what we are supposed to do. Always with the realization that God always gives first.

Let us pray: Unleash generosity in our lives, that we might be obedient to you and a blessing to others. Keep us mindful of where and how we invest in the common good of the world and the personal good of our lives. Thank you for all the gifts you continue to give to us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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