Monday, April 12, 2010

In Search Of Truth, 2 Corinthians 9:6-15


While encouraging the Corinthians' generosity, Paul quotes what is likely a non-Biblical proverb, but one that harmonizes with Proverbs 11:24-24, 2 Corinthians 5:10 and Matthew 6:20. God will reward a believer's generosity. Potentially with a foretaste in this life, but completely in eternity. (v.6)

When deciding how much of our resources we will give to efforts dedicated to God, we should decide on an amount that we can give with pleasure and satisfaction, anticipating what God will do with it. (v.7) Giving out of social obligation or guilt is a sign that something is not right. Either we're giving too much, giving to the wrong thing or our heart needs an adjustment. (In my own experience it is rarely the first, sometimes the second and most often the third.)

Whatever our level of giving, God is able to favor us, even when we don't deserve it (that's called "grace"), with all we need to serve and give. (v.8) God will also reward us for the giving he enables us to do! (Now THAT'S what I call grace!)

Paul quotes Psalm 112:9, which refers to the reward a generous believer is given. This believer has a perfect standing before God (righteousness) that lasts forever. And while this is true of all who trust in Christ, the rest of Psalm 112:9 says, "his horn will be lifted high in honor". ("Horn" was often used as a metaphor for dignity.) If we take into account the other passages of scripture that teach the concept of eternal rewards for things done in this life, Paul seems to be implying here that the good we do now will not only be rewarded in eternity, but will be in some way recognized and celebrated. ("his horn will be lifted high in honor") Our "righteousness" will be celebrated forever, including the righteous things God enables us to do now.

God is the ultimate supplier of our material possessions. He supplies us with the means to give and also supplies the reward we gain for giving.(v.10) Add to this the fact that when we partner with a God-honoring church or ministry by giving, they are able to put our gifts to use in ways that result in people thanking God, in addition to meeting their needs! (v.11-12)

As Paul has taught previously, genuine love and faith are demonstrated and validated by action. But Paul also teaches here that our actions do more than validate our faith. They provide fuel for another believer's worship of God!(v.13) People also feel an extra measure of love for those they can tell are being used by God to accomplish good. They tend to pray with more enthusiasm as a result of seeing God work through them.(v.14)

Giving can seem like a difficult thing to do. But in summary of what we've read here, God provides the resources to give, God provides our willingness to give, God rewards us in eternity for what we give now, God is worshiped more when we give and we are more often prayed for as we give! It's no wonder Paul blurts out in verse 15, "We should all thank God for this mind-blowing gift!"

Next Time- What we can learn from how Paul "does ministry".

Coffee House Question- Can you think of an instance where someone's service or generosity, toward you or someone else, motivated you to thank God or to pray for that person?

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