So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7)
“Give till it hurts!” That is the advice we often hear. But, if we stop at that level of giving, we haven’t given enough. We need to give until it feels good! That’s what Paul is encouraging us to do. In chapter eight of Second Corinthians there is a grace and a glory in giving. Now, in chapter nine, the Apostle informs us there is a gladness in giving. Grace is the exhibition of God’s power. Glory is the experience of God’s presence. Gladness is the expression of God’s praise. That is why we gather on the Lord’s Day—for the purpose of worshipping our worthy Lord. Our giving is an essential way that we express our worship to God.
God is as much concerned with why we give as what we give. Our attitude matters as much as the amount. Underscore that last phrase in verse five, “as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation.” The story is told about Billy Graham visiting a church service years ago. It came time for the offering and he reached in his wallet and pulled out what he thought was a twenty dollar bill. When he looked down, he saw he had taken out a hundred by mistake. He fidgeted. He knew people were watching. What could he do? He reluctantly tossed it in the plate. His wife Ruth, knowing his intent and seeing him squirm, leaned over and whispered, “You only get credit for a twenty!” Our motives matter to God. God wants gladness.
Paul bragged on them for their desire to minister to others through giving (v.1-2). People who are concerned for others buy Bibles, support missionaries and broadcast the Gospel. It should make you glad to know that your giving is touching a world with love!
Paul exhorted them to keep their promise (v.3-5). They had committed to giving and now he expected them to honor that commitment. We are committed to the bank, the car company, the grocery store, the electric company, the phone company, the insurance company, and on and on. How committed are we to God’s work?
Verse six reminds us of the law of the harvest: if you want a bumper crop then you best sow bountiful seed. Jesus said, “Give and it shall be given you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give unto your bosom.” If you are stingy in giving, then God will be slight in blessings. If you are generous in giving, then God will be generous with grace.
Don’t you want to be the kind of giver that God loves? Then do it cheerfully (v.7)! What would you think if one Sunday, the preacher announced, “You’ve given so much we really don’t need anymore.” Then, we posted the ushers to hide the offering plates so no one could give! Far-fetched? That’s what happened in the collection to build the tabernacle during the days of Moses. Read about it in Exodus 36:3-7.
God ministers to us and through us as we gladly give (v.8-15). God will provide whatever He puts in our heart to give. Every need that arises is simply God inviting us to trust Him for Divine resources. The giving of the Corinthians resulted in praise to God. May God make us glad givers!