Cheerful generosity, like God’s

Posted Nov 8, 2019

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Daily Scripture

2 Corinthians 9:6-15

6 What I mean is this: the one who sows a small number of seeds will also reap a small crop, and the one who sows a generous amount of seeds will also reap a generous crop.

7 Everyone should give whatever they have decided in their heart. They shouldn’t give with hesitation or because of pressure. God loves a cheerful giver. 8 God has the power to provide you with more than enough of every kind of grace. That way, you will have everything you need always and in everything to provide more than enough for every kind of good work. 9 As it is written, He scattered everywhere; he gave to the needy; his righteousness remains forever [Psalm 112:9].

10 The one who supplies seed for planting and bread for eating will supply and multiply your seed and will increase your crop, which is righteousness. 11 You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous in every way. Such generosity produces thanksgiving to God through us. 12 Your ministry of this service to God’s people isn’t only fully meeting their needs but it is also multiplying in many expressions of thanksgiving to God. 13 They will give honor to God for your obedience to your confession of Christ’s gospel. They will do this because this service provides evidence of your obedience, and because of your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone. 14 They will also pray for you, and they will care deeply for you because of the outstanding grace that God has given to you. 15 Thank God for his gift that words can’t describe!

Reflection Questions

“God has the power to provide you with more than enough of every kind of grace” (verse 8). “You will be made rich in every way” (verse 11). The apostle Paul, certainly not a rich man by any human standard, wrote that! Even to people who lived in the large city of Corinth, he used the language of harvest, of God increasing their crop. He challenged them (and us) to rethink what “rich” and “more than enough” really mean. God sows generously. He asks us to produce a generous harvest.

  • Paul’s specific focus was an offering from Gentile Christians to support suffering Jewish Christians in Jerusalem. Yet he kept talking about what God gives us: “everything you need always,” “every kind of grace” and “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous in every way.” When (if ever) has a gift “left you speechless,” with no words to fully describe it? How would you compare that feeling to your response to God’s gift(s) of which Paul spoke?
  • Paul did not invent the idea that “God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Chronicles 31:4-10 said that after King Hezekiah’s call to supply the Temple, “the Israelites generously gave the best of their grain, new wine, oil, honey, and all their crops—a tenth of everything, a huge amount.” Why would God want us to give from free, grateful hearts without coercion or pressure? When have you felt the joy of giving freely from a grateful heart of love?

Prayer

God of abundant life, teach me how to better calibrate my standard of “enough.” And grow in me a heart that cheerfully welcomes invitations to give to bless others. Amen.

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Ginger Rothhaas

Ginger Rothhaas

Ginger is a graduate of Saint Paul School of Theology. She is the creator of CompassionFix.com and co-hosts the What Matters? podcast. She serves as a Care Minister at Resurrection Downtown. She loves writing, teaching spiritual classes, conversations over coffee, and traveling with her husband and two children.

If sermons on generosity make you a little uneasy, you are not alone. Being asked to give money is hard on the person asking as well as the person being asked. Very few of us enjoy being asked to give our money away. And very few pastors enjoy asking for money.

When asked to give my money away, if I notice the thought, "If I give this amount away, I might not have enough when I need it," then I know I’m in trouble. Not financially. I’m in trouble because when I notice thoughts of lack (need more) or scarcity (not enough), then I know I have drifted away from God. My feelings about money are often a barometer for me to measure my closeness to God. 

When I am in tune with God, I notice abundance all around me. Things fall into place easily. I feel gratitude for all I have. I am optimistic that more will come. I am more generous with giving away my time, money, and love. My mindset is positive and willing to share what I have. I have a sense of trust that everything is going to be okay. 

When I get off track and feel disconnected from God, I notice more fearful thoughts in my mind. I worry more. I feel that I have to analyze everything and be in control of things. I fret over the small stuff more than I should. I get defensive and protect what is mine. I feel more alone in the world. 

When I notice these things, I have to check in with myself and ask, "Am I approaching life from an abundance mindset or a scarcity mindset right now?" 

If the answer is a spirit of scarcity, some time with God in meditation, a walk to help me notice the wonder of nature, or opening my Bible is usually a good place to start for me to reconnect. These practices are like a reset button for me to notice God's abundant love and renew my sense of faith.

When I am in a spirit of abundance, I see that money is a resource we share as a human race and there is enough to go around if we share it. I see that organizations are doing a lot of good with the money I give. I see that God gives us everything we have, and to whom much is given, much is expected. I feel grateful for the chance to share what I have. 

An attitude of abundance feels a lot better than scarcity. Being connected to God feels a lot better than not. That’s my two cents. (See what I did there???)

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