The Collection for Christians in Jerusalem
9 Now it is superfluous for me to write to you about the ministry for the saints, for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year. And your zeal has stirred up most of them. But I am sending the brothers so that our boasting about you may not prove empty in this matter, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be. Otherwise, if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliated—to say nothing of you—for being so confident. So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the gift you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction.
The Cheerful Giver
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written,
“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.”
He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!
2 Corinthians 9 Commentary
by Hank Workman
2 people were dead.
This husband and wife had sold a piece of property, laid the money at the apostle’s feet. The problem was they lied. They had kept a portion of it back for themselves but wanted others to believe they had given it all. They were not under compulsion to give this money. Shock-waves ran through the early church as because of this action they were laid out flat and buried.
Financial giving is a touchy subject. It was then as Paul continues in his writing to the Corinthian church and it is now for sure. People love their stuff. They love their money. Even though Scripture specifically speaks toward financially supporting ministries, the need to do so even, it is overlooked and neglected.
This isn’t just about generous giving though – it’s about generous living.
Everything we have has been a gift from God… absolutely everything. And yet, we wrap our fingers tightly around our stuff, our bank book and claim “All mine”. As I’ve said before I hold to today, generous living (including giving) is a heart issue. It always has been, always will be.
I was taught years ago and have held to this since that teaching – my tithe to the church, giving back, is the first check I cut. The strange thing is I never miss that money. Never. You talk to those who live generously they state the same thing. It doesn’t add up especially when you usually look at bills and whatnot. God supplies the needs through our obedience. I firmly believe that because I’ve proven it to be true.
As Paul writes to the Corinthian church, his words of challenge resonate.
The point is this: The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously.  Each person should do as he has decided in his heart—not reluctantly or out of compulsion, since God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work.  As it is written: He distributed freely; he gave to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.  Now the one who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will also provide and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness.2 Corinthians 9:6-10 CSB
If there was a reward for giving – it is the right heart in giving. Again, it’s a heart issue.
As a farmer sows, I am sure there are times he feels as though he’s losing seed as it falls in different places, and we may feel as though we are doing the same when we give. But Paul uses this illustration that there should be an anticipation of the future harvest when we give with the same heart. Materially we may wonder how does this add up? I know, many wrestle with this. But Paul challenges then as it resonates now, God will provide for the giving heart. He does supply all our need according to his riches in glory. (Philippians 4:19)
The very base of this heart issue is it’s a spiritual issue. Do we trust God? Truly, there would be some argument on this I surmise, but it does come down to this. “Each must do what he’s purposed in his heart… God loves a cheerful giver” There’s not the word ‘some should do’ it’s each one. Each of us, every one of us should be giving. But once again it’s about the heart. And our giving reflects the very purposes of our heart and of what’s important.
God not only calls us toward generous giving – He calls us to generous living. We must wrestle individually with what this means in every aspect of our lives and how tightly we hold onto what we have. It’s not ours in the first place. We can’t take it with us. Generous living makes an impact not only for ministries to go forward but for lives to be transformed as we invest freely our finances, even of our time, our person into another for the glory of the Kingdom.
2 Corinthians 9 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Paul sarcastically (playfully) urges the Corinthians toward giving in verses 1-5. He mentions that they will be put to shame if he sends someone to collect their offering and they are unprepared. Paul is playfully nudging them toward the discipline of faithful and cheerful giving. But v. 1-5 set up the rest of his letter.
The meat and potatoes of this chapter are v. 6-9 where Paul outlines what it means to give generously. It is not given out of compulsion. God does not give us His grace out of compulsion or obligation. He gives because He loves to give freely. Therefore, the key thought from this chapter, in my opinion, is that the key to giving is not the amount but the attitude.
A secondary point to this is found in v. 12 where Paul connects giving directly to God. Yes, it benefits the needs of others, but it also reveals the depth of relationship with God the Father. Those who mimic the Father in giving show themselves to be close to Him and they draw others close to Him. The receiver of such gifts will thank God for His provision which began in the heart of the giver. Cheerful givers free themselves from the bondage of greed and materialism. We must consider if we are more content with material gain or more content to be blessed by God (more on this later).
Giving: Obligation of the Law or Freedom of the Heart?
It really comes down to a simple question. Are we bound to give or do we love to give?
Modern-day Pharisees, like their forefathers, love to bind others with their rules. When Jesus spoke of the disciples being able to bind and loose what is in Heaven here on Earth, He was teaching them a concept they were already familiar with under the Jewish law. The point Jesus was making was that the Kingdom of God (which comes by faith) would empower His followers to declare what is sinful but also declare what is forgiven. The Pharisees had failed in this regard from the beginning, burdening the people by piling on the weight of additional rules and regulations and failing to exhibit any degree of mercy.
The interesting point to consider is that there are some today who burden others in this same way. In yesterday’s blog, I wrote about those who use Scripture to defend their choice not to give. Today, we will explore the other side of the fence. What about those who use giving to place burdens on others?
The name-it-claim-it word of faith teachers have gotten a bad reputation for promising riches to those who give generously to God. On one hand, there is a small amount of truth to their theology. On the other hand, I believe they are unknowingly placing unnecessary burdens on their people.
Each person should do as he has decided in his heart—not reluctantly or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work.2 Corinthians 9:7-8 HCSB
Notice the critical difference between prosperity theology and Scripture. God does not promise to give us an abundance of material wealth in return for our giving. He promises two things. The first is that every grace will overflow. What does this mean? Ironically, it is the same Greek word (charis) I wrote about yesterday. That word was used to indicate kindness, generosity, and helpfulness. However, it also was used to describe spiritual power which makes sense considering God’s grace is what arms us with resurrection power.
So, when God promises that every grace will overflow, the Greek readers would have understood that to mean intangible blessings. These are much more valuable to the believer than material pleasures. Next, Paul writes that in every way you will be supplied with everything you need to excel in every good work. “Every way” would mean exactly what it says. Physical, material and spiritual needs will be met exactly when we need them. But, I am curious about the last phrase he uses because it does change the entire verse.
The reason for the grace that overflows and the reason for every need being provided in every way is so that we may excel in every good work! This is the backbreaker to prosperity theology. It is not provided to the generous giver so they can excel in personal comfort. It is given so that the believer can turn around and produce good works in the Name of Jesus. Everything that is given to us is to sustain us as we pursue obedience in the Spirit!
When prosperity teachers promise health, wealth and comfort to those who give generously, a burden is given. That person who gives actually expects to receive all their heart’s desires when they write a check. This is “giving out of necessity” – something Paul warns against. Though it is absolutely true that God will provide for us when we give generously, we must believe He will give us what we need rather than what we selfishly want. As is the case with many topics in Scripture, it ultimately comes down to a heart issue.