“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. 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.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-8,10-11
Paul has been talking about generous financial giving as an act of grace among the Body, listed in the previous chapter with faith, speech, and knowledge as a gift to be shared. He’d given the example of the Macedonian churches: “In a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.” (2 Corinthians 8:2-5) It is hard not to see abundant joy, overflowed, wealth of generosity, beyond their means, begged for the favor in enthusiastic bold. What a model! Do I crave this involvement in my church’s ministry? Am I this zealous to trust the Lord with lavish giving and prove His faithfulness? Am I more sensitive to my own wants than to the needs of God’s church and people? Do I regard myself as owner rather than steward of my resources– to dole out as I determine? Is my sight so limited that my world revolves around me and I have no vision for God’s greater work? Do I define my own joy instead of delighting in the Lord’s for me?
The key was ‘first giving themselves to the Lord.’ It is doing so, day by day, that God transforms our reluctances into open hands and ready feet and eager hearts. He adjusts our eyes to see needs and His supernatural ability to meet them. When I submit my moments, my priorities, my resources to Him, He awakens desire to abound with Him in every way, every good work. When I am transfixed by the wealth of His sufficiency, grace, generosity to me, I am compelled to offer it all back to Him.
Lord, may Your surpassing grace to me have its full effect. May I never grow weary of doing good, especially to those in Your household. May I submissively, extravagantly, offer the fruit of Your bounty to me back to You for Your use, causing the overflow of many thanksgivings and boundless glory to You. (Galatians 6:9-10; 2 Corinthians 9:11-15)