Corinthians – Belief and Behavior
My Grandma Lacquement was known for listening to a variety of radio preachers while doing her morning chores on the farm. She also saved her egg money earned from selling to local friends and family so that she could give readily when asked. The trouble was that some of these preachers had a sob story that took more time than the sermon. She was found out about her giving. Her oldest daughter used to tell her not to give to those with sob stories but to reserve her hard earned money to those who really needed it…or not at all. Grandma smiled and just kept more quiet about her giving. I’m smiling now remembering Grandma’s smile with that twinkle in her eyes. Some say it looked mischievous. Others say I have that same look at times. People wonder what we are up to when it is God who put it there.
Grandma was a delightful giver. She loved giving of her time, money and gifts of providing meals to strangers as well as friends and family. She got up early to fry chickens to provide a meal for all of us as we gathered at her table after church EVERY Sunday. Seldom were we alone as a family. She would invite those from church who might not have a place to go. She would invite new people, visiting preachers or friends. And she smiled while she did it. Yes, she was a delightful giver, not rich financially, but gave from a heart of passionate love of God. She was, as Paul describes in our passage today;
“She throws caution to the winds, giving to the needy in reckless abandon. Her right-living, right-giving ways never run out, never wear out.” (I changed he to she for emphasis.)
Paul also describes the many benefits from delightful giving. Read carefully and prayerfully. How many benefits can you name?
2 Corinthians 9, The Message
1-2 If I wrote any more on this relief offering for the poor Christians, I’d be repeating myself. I know you’re on board and ready to go. I’ve been bragging about you all through Macedonia province, telling them, “Achaia province has been ready to go on this since last year.” Your enthusiasm by now has spread to most of them.
3-5 Now I’m sending the brothers to make sure you’re ready, as I said you would be, so my bragging won’t turn out to be just so much hot air. If some Macedonians and I happened to drop in on you and found you weren’t prepared, we’d all be pretty red-faced—you and us—for acting so sure of ourselves. So to make sure there will be no slipup, I’ve recruited these brothers as an advance team to get you and your promised offering all ready before I get there. I want you to have all the time you need to make this offering in your own way. I don’t want anything forced or hurried at the last minute.
6-7 Remember: A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish planter gets a lavish crop. I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving.
8-11 God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it,
He throws caution to the winds,
giving to the needy in reckless abandon.
His right-living, right-giving ways
never run out, never wear out.
This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.
12-15 Carrying out this social relief work involves far more than helping meet the bare needs of poor Christians. It also produces abundant and bountiful thanksgivings to God. This relief offering is a prod to live at your very best, showing your gratitude to God by being openly obedient to the plain meaning of the Message of Christ. You show your gratitude through your generous offerings to your needy brothers and sisters, and really toward everyone. Meanwhile, moved by the extravagance of God in your lives, they’ll respond by praying for you in passionate intercession for whatever you need. Thank God for this gift, his gift. No language can praise it enough!
Think About It…
–God gives so we can give.
–God loves to give so we can love to give. That’s why He loves a delightful giver. It gives HIM delight!
–Giving exponentially increases the outflow of our thanksgiving to God!
–Our giving increases our praise to God.
–Giving encourages up to live at our best!
–Giving IS the Message of Christ! Because of great love for us, He gave his very life for us!
–Our gratefulness to Christ shows through our delightful giving to everyone in need.
–“Moved by the extravagance of God in your lives, they’ll respond by praying for you in passionate intercession for whatever you need.” We don’t expect anything in return, but we are prayed for with grateful hearts.
–Thank God for the gift of delightful giving. Praise Him for the privilege!
Mm…I think my Grandma knew this!
Dear Heavenly Father,
I love how you speak volumes to us in the quiet of this hour alone with You. Thank you for the memories of the saints who walked this earth before us with such a great witness of You in their living and giving. Continue to transform me. Transform Your church. Transform the world.
In Jesus Name, Amen