2 Corinthians 8:1-5, 7, 12. Brothers and sisters, we want to let you know about the grace of God that was given to the churches of Macedonia. While they were being tested by many problems, their extra amount of happiness and their extreme poverty resulted in a surplus of rich generosity. I assure you that they gave what they could afford and even more than they could afford, and they did it voluntarily. They urgently begged us for the privilege of sharing in this service for the saints. They even exceeded our expectations, because they gave themselves to the Lord first and to us, consistent with God’s will…
…Be the best in this work of grace in the same way that you are the best in everything, such as faith, speech, knowledge, total commitment, and the love we inspired in you…
…A gift is appreciated because of what a person can afford, not because of what that person can’t afford, if it’s apparent that it’s done willingly.
2 Corinthians 9:6-11. The one who sows a small number of seeds will also reap a small crop, and the one who sows a generous amount of seeds will also reap a generous crop. Everyone should give whatever they have decided in their heart. They shouldn’t give with hesitation or because of pressure. God loves a cheerful giver. God has the power to provide you with more than enough of every kind of grace. That way, you will have everything you need always and in everything to provide more than enough for every kind of good work. As it is written, He scattered everywhere; he gave to the needy; his righteousness remains forever. The one who supplies seed for planting and bread for eating will supply and multiply your seed and will increase your crop, which is righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous in every way. Such generosity produces thanksgiving to God through us.
In the first passage, Paul encourages the leaders in Corinth to fulfill a promise they made to support the saints in Jerusalem. He places this discussion in a context of considering the grace of God evidenced by the church in Macedonia. They express both joy and generosity despite hard times and limited resources. Paul says that their response is possible because they first gave themselves to God. Their generosity is a spiritual matter. Then Paul suggests that giving should be included among the good habits of discipleship. He explains that generosity is not a matter of affluence or giving from what you do not have; we give from what we have in a willing, response to God’s extravagant generosity to us.
The passage from 2 Corinthians 9 lifts up the common sense law of the harvest: sow generously and you will reap generously. Giving from the heart, not from obligation (that is, Extravagant Generosity), has both material and spiritual benefits.
- How do you support and participate in the mission of OCF?
- Why do you choose to be a part of OCF?
- How has giving changed you?