Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians
Careful & Cheerful Giving
2 Corinthians 8:16 - 9:15
28 August 2016
Writing to the Corinthians who promised to support the poor church in Jerusalem, and then neglected their promise, Paul asks them to reconsider. He does not command them to give, but reminds them of the purpose and blessings of intentional and cheerful giving.
The careful supervision of our giving (8:16-23)
Paul firstly chose a team to handle the money. He takes this "precaution so that no one will discredit us in our administration" (v. 20), making sure the money was handled cleanly, transparently, and above scrutiny. Paul made sure there was accountability in the finances so that their gospel ministry would not be discredited. Secondly, he chose a team that was spiritually qualified. Along with Titus, Paul sent "the brother whose fame in the things of the gospel has spread through all the churches" (v. 18). It is not enough that people are skilled in finances; they must be godly believers also.
The willing eagerness of our giving (8:24-9:5)
This is about giving that longs to please God and be a blessing. Paul trusted and had boasted about the Corinthians' eagerness to support the church in Jerusalem. It was originally their idea, and had encouraged the Macedonians to give also. But greed and coveteousness set in, and they procrastinated and kept the money for themselves. We should instead remember the example of Christ, "that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich" (8:9). The greatest encouragement to give should be to please God and bless others.
The promises of blessing to cheerful givers (9:6-15)
First, the blessing of God's love. Paul writes that we are to give as one "has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver" (v. 7). The promise is that we can experience more of God's love in giving cheerfully! Second, God's blessing of abundant generosity. God supplies abundantly so we can abundantly give. "He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully" (v. 6). Thirdly, cheerful giving is a blessing to others. The saints in Jerusalem were "overflowing through many thanksgivings to God" (v. 12) because of the generosity of the Corinthians. When thanks is expressed, it warms the heart of both, the giver, and and receiver.
Paul ends "thanks be to God for His indescribable gift" (v. 15), "the surpassing grace of God in you" (v. 14). We can never match God's gift to us.