Today: [2 Corinthians 9:] Giving to those in Need: Can you name a single impoverished person that you have given to lately? Chapter 9 of 2 Corinthians in its entirety is an appeal to care for the poor. It isn’t the job of an institution. It is a personal responsibility that is a key to blessing and benefit in your own life.
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[2Co 9:1-15 KJV] 1 For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you: 2 For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many. 3 Yet have I sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; that, as I said, ye may be ready: 4 Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting. 5 Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as [a matter of] bounty, and not as [of] covetousness. 6 But this [I say], He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, [so let him give]; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 8 And God [is] able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all [things], may abound to every good work: 9 (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. 10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for [your] food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) 11 Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. 12 For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; 13 Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for [your] liberal distribution unto them, and unto all [men]; 14 And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you. 15 Thanks [be] unto God for his unspeakable gift.
In the previous chapter Paul addresses the Corinthians at length concerning their belated and insufficient support of his ministry. In chapter 9 he, in turn, addresses their support for the poor. In verse 1 he states that it is unnecessary to speak to them about this matter – which tells us that what he said in ch. 8 was necessary. In other words, the Corinthians had a reputation for caring for the poor although their support of the ministry was habitually lacking. The matter at hand is this chapter is that the Corinthians made a promise of help to needy believers a year before but had yet to make good on their pledge. The same was true regarding big promises concerning their support of Paul in chapter 8, but they had then consequently shown little interest in following through on their pledge.
Regarding the subject of pledged support do you think this is a good practice? All ministries and groups use this means of fundraising but as is in the case in 2 Cor. 8-9 it seems to be problematic. At the same time, Paul did instruct the Corinthians in the previous chapter to lay up or set aside what they planned to give over time so that there would be no gathering of funds when he arrived to visit them. The issue here is the controversy of making public statements and then not following through on what they said they would do. Again Paul instructs that the giving the Corinthians expressed a commitment to do should be set aside ahead of time so there would be no falling short resulting on the Corinthians saying one thing and doing another.
What about giving to the poor? It is a fact that the requirement in the Old Testament was to give what amounted to just over 15% of their increase to the poor. Can you imagine a church teaching this today? It is difficult enough to talk about 10% for the ministry but giving to the poor tends to be marginalized. In many cities, the only thing the churches do for the poor is to provide them with a night in a hotel and a tank of gas to get out of town.
Another important thing to point out is giving in both the Old and New Testaments was done by individuals and not by institutions. We tend to think that giving to the poor is the institutional responsibility of the church or benevolent organizations. There is no scriptural precedent for this. Giving to the poor should happen, and it should be carried out when at all possible personally by the individual doing the giving in the first place. The name of every believer should be blessed by some neglected family every night when they go to bed because that believer is making a difference in their lives. This is more than giving a shopping bag full of dented vegetable cans with the label torn off. The writer of Proverbs said this:
[Pro 19:17 KJV] 17 He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.
God expects that giving to the poor is the business that you are in. When you give to the poor God considers it a loan to the Lord that He will repay. My spouse Kitty says concerning this verse that God always pays His honest debts and will be a debtor to no man. Years ago the Father said this to me: when you give to the poor the Father will repair your personal economy. When you give to the anointing He will enlarge your personal economy. You have to do both if you want to be released from the economics of man to enjoy the economics of the kingdom in your life. Paul sums this up in v. six saying that he that sows sparingly shall reap sparingly and he that sows bountifully shall reap bountifully.
What does verse 6 conclude for us, then? That giving is the universal solution to all financial problems, and failure to give is at the heart of all economic downturn in our lives. We can say we give or tithe which is to be encouraged but if the result doesn’t show up in blessing and enlargement financially in your life, you have to stop and examine your giving. Either God’s word is true, or it is not. Are you reaping bountifully in the area of finances? If not why not? V. 6 gives us the answer. We can say we don’t understand what is going on but we have to turn a blind eye to God’s word in order to make that claim.
In v. 7 Paul says let every man give from the heart not because someone manipulated them into a grudging gift. Why? Because God loves a cheerful giver. Doesn’t he love everybody? Yes, He does but whether or not we enjoy the benefits of that love is determined by our response. God will seldom if ever do anything for you that you are not willing to do for someone else. What you make happen for someone else God will make happen for you.
God loves a cheerful giver (v. 7) and will make (v. 8) all grace about toward that person. What kind of grace? All grace. Financial grace that causes you to have all sufficiency in all things that you might abound to every good work. The promise is that you will disperse abroad (v. 9) and give to the poor and your righteousness (your right-standing and entitlement before God) will never be diminished. This is an all-encompassing statement. Just as Solomon said money answers all things even so giving of your income to the poor and to the anointing causes you to come to the place (v. 11) that you will be enriched (that’s made rich) in all bounty, and many will give thanks to God for you.
Why will many be thanking God for you? V. 12 because you are supplying the want of the saints to such a degree that they are rejoicing and calling your name in thanks to God with abundant rejoicing because of your obedience in this area. They will glorify God (v. 13) because of your subjection to Christ. How do we know you are subject to Christ? Because of your liberal distribution to the saints and not only to the saints but to all men. Are you a tipper? Do you bless others? Do you look for opportunities to bless and benefit those that are in need? God wants you to be so committed to meeting the needs of others that their prayer life is changed and activated not just in praying for themselves but praying for you because you have been such a blessing to them.
The final verse in the chapter declares “thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift…” God so loved that He gave. Godliness in your life shows up in the area of giving. Giving to the anointing as ch. 8 admonishes and giving to the poor as ch. 9 instructs. If God has made an impact upon your character in any way it will show up in the generosity of heart, you demonstrate in all things.
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