The Collection for Jerusalem Saints
Read (2 Corinthians 9:1-5)
Paul prepares the Corinthians for the collection for the saints at Jerusalem who were struggling (Romans 15:25). He reminds the Corinthians of their initial eagerness to help when he first sought their aid (9:2). The example of the churches in Macedonia encouraged them to pledge support for Christians in Jerusalem. But they failed to fulfill their pledge. Paul did not want to humiliate them for their failure but encouraged them by sending brothers ahead of him to help them to make arrangements for the collection. He did not want to force them to take collection for the Jerusalem church but desired that they should give willingly in response to God’s generosity toward them (2 Corinthians 9:5). Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7). We should give joyfully and not out of mere duty or guilt. Our motives are important. Cheerful giving flows out of Christ’s love abounding grace toward us (2 Corinthians 9:8). Rather than giving to the needy out of obligation, we should give eagerly in response to God’s generosity toward us.
The Principle of Giving
Read (2 Corinthians 9:6-15)
Paul uses an example from nature to teach Corinthians how they should give. “Whoever sows sparingly will reap sparingly and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (9:6). This principle is found in the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament (Proverbs 11:24; Galatians 6:7). God promises to supply all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 9:10; Philippians 4:19). We cannot out-give God (Luke 6:38). When Corinthians were motivated by God’s grace to give, their generosity resulted in thanksgivings to God (2 Corinthians 9:11). God is looking for open handed believers who would give above and beyond their tithe. God will be glorified through their giving (2 Corinthians 9:13). Our generosity will be a testimony of the goodness of God to fellow Christians. Generosity is the evidence of obedience to Christ. Another result of faithful giving is that the recipient will pray for us with affection before the throne of God. Paul concludes this chapter by thanking God for his Son, a gift too wonderful for words (9:15). This is a reference to God’s Son, Jesus Christ. One of the goals of taking up an offering from Gentile churches for Jewish believers was to mend the difference that existed between them. People who receive the gift understand that Christian faith is deeper than mere words. If we are not willing to help those who are in need, we are likely forgetting all that Christ gave up on our behalf to save us. Pray that God would graciously help us to give willingly, cheerfully and generously.