One of the key components to getting out of debt is often overlooked. It is something that changes our perspective and should be prevalent in our lives. And that principle is to have a heart and mind of generosity.
The truth is, it’s hard to be prosperous if you’re not generous.
In 2 Corinthians 9:1-9, Paul talks to the church of Corinth about generosity. This message is crucial for us today as followers of Christ.
To gain context, let’s look at the first five verses of this passage.
“Now concerning the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write you;”
This passage begins with Paul addressing the Corinthians and the gifts they have agreed to give.
“for I know your willingness, about which I boast of you to the Macedonians, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal has stirred up the majority.”
Paul has boasted to the other places he has been, sharing the eagerness and excitement of the Corinthians in their willingness to give. In sharing this testimony with others, it has caused them to, as a result, get excited as well.
“Yet I have sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this respect, that, as I said, you may be ready;”
Paul has sent some of his brothers ahead of time so the Corinthians will be ready and prepared to give when he arrives.
“lest if some Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we (not to mention you!) should be ashamed of this confident boasting.”
In short, Paul is communicating that he doesn’t want to brag about them as generous givers if they prove to be sad in their offerings.
“Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation.”
To summarize this passage, Paul doesn’t want to get there and get an attitude when it is time to collect the offering!
Sadly, when it comes time to give an offering, many people within Christ’s church body are mad, annoyed, and begrudging about it. (In fact, one of them may sit in your row on Sunday morning!)
As a church pastor, I am persuaded that if people are taught how to manage their resources properly, they will be joyful, glad, and have the right attitude when the offering plate comes around.
As we continue in 2 Corinthians, chapter 9, Paul sets the stage on some rather important points of the spiritual significance of giving.
The Spiritual Significance of Giving (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)
I. You Reap in Relationship to What You Sow (vs. 6)
“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”
You will reap a harvest in relationship to what you plant.If you give out of anger or a bad attitude, you will get thatin return.
Paul says if you give sparingly, you will get back sparingly. The word sparinglyhere means “stingy.” In other words, if you give with a stingy hand, your harvest will reflect that.
So how do you know if you are a stingy giver?
If you are sowing with the resources you have left over, you are planting with a closed fist.
This meansit is after you have paid everything else: every bill, obligation, and want, that you sow into the Kingdom of God. He gets what is left over.
But there is encouraging news because Paul doesn’t stop there.
He goes on to say that those who give bountifully will receive bountifully.
Bountifully means abundantly and without lack.
I am reminded of the Greek word,eulogia. This word means eulogy.
Now you may be wondering, pastor, what does a eulogy have to do with being generous? Here is how. When someone dies, eulogiesare the words of remembrance you speak about them. As a pastor, I do many eulogies. Sowhen I prepare, I have to ask myself, “How will I eulogize this person?”
I have one of three choices of how my eulogy will be written.
The first eulogy is the unknown eulogy. This means I didn’t know them and haven’t had a relationship with them, so I can’t talk much about them.
The second is a casual eulogy. Maybe I had been acquainted with them, and I know that when I speak of them, they were someone I had met at one time or another in my life.
The final is the well-known eulogy.This means I had a personal relationship with them and can speak confidently of their character and life.
When you give of your resources, you are making a eulogistic statement about someone who has died. In simple terms, your generosity speaks volumes about your relationship with Christ! Either you don’t know Him, you know Him casually, or you know Him intimately.
Those who sow bountifully are sowing that wayin response to their relationship with the Lord!
I used to be a stingy person. As a matter of fact, if you looked up tightwad in the dictionary, you would find my picture.
However, this scripture has changed my heart, mind, and outlook on giving. So much now that I look for opportunities to give!
Be encouraged; Godis able to transform you from a stingy person to a generous giver.
II. Give With the Proper Purpose & Proper Attitude (vs. 7)
“So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”
I don’t give to every situation, nor do I suggest that to you. But I do encourage you to choose to give to the things you feel purposed and led to.
Give as Godprompts you, and give to the issues you are passionate about.
The second half of this verse describes the heart and mindset we should have.
We are to give with the right attitude – without complaint, murmur, or sadness. But with a cheerful and glad posture.
I am a proud parent of six adult children.Growing up, they each had their own unique response when they were called.
My youngest, John Jr., was always so eager to run to me when I called him. And his response was always a consistent, faithful, “Yes, dad?”
Do you know, that boy could get anything he wanted from me!
And while that response from him has since faded, we can still have that heart posture toward God when He asks us to do something. A simple “Yes, dad?” without groaning, complaint, or finding fault.
All He asks for is an obedient and glad heart.
III. God Gives Grace Because of Your Giving (vs. 8)
“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”
Grace is the provision God gives according to your ability and desire to do what He has called you to do and be who He has called you to be!
I need grace.
I need grace to be a husband.
I need grace to be a father.
I need grace to be a pastor.
I need to be smeared with His grace!
And you need grace, too!
Without God’s grace, we can’t possibly do what God has called us to do.
But it doesn’t stop there!
Because of that grace, we are able to do right, live right, walk right, talk right, and think right.
And in the abundant grace He provides, we have everything we need: whatever needs done gets done according to His perfect provision to complete it!
Now you may be wondering, “Pastor, why is this message tied to the debt series?”
Well, because you will need some help to get out of debt. You are going to need His grace.
And with His grace, you can be a cheerful giver, which will produce a bountiful harvest.
So what will you choose?