For the last several months I have been reading a series of 30-day Bible reading plans. Recently I read 2 Corinthians 9:6-15. The plan is entitled “30 Days of Leadership” and the reading was called “Practicing Generosity.” But, as I read, I reflected that instead of “Practicing Generosity,” maybe a better title for the reading would be “Equipped for Generosity.” Here is what I mean.
Read 2 Corinthians 9:6-15. After Paul’s restatement of a universal principle—one reaps what one sows—he encouraged generosity. Randy Alcorn said, “The more you give, the more comes back to you, because God is the greatest giver in the universe, and He won’t let you outgive Him. Go ahead and try. See what happens.” Paul encouraged the believers to freely decide how to give but to always give freely and cheerfully. But several key verses show us that God gives to us far more than meets our needs. He equips us for generosity. Verse 8 (NASB) tells us the purpose of God’s blessings on us. “And God is able to make all grace overflow to you, so that, always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.” First note the expressions of God’s full supply: God is able, all (twice), every and everything, always, overflow, sufficiency, abundance. Every word is God’s riches of grace to the max. All these maximum expressions point to God’s plan for His blessings for us, that is, we are equipped for every good work.
Ephesians 2:10 (NASB) says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” God’s blessings equip us so we can do every good work God has planned for us to do. Generosity is a characteristic of God, who gave us “His indescribable gift!” (2 Cor. 9:15).
Verse 10 points out that God will provide what we need so we can have a harvest of righteousness. “Righteousness is an attribute that belongs to God, the Lawgiver, and is manifested in His laws. No man can be justified by his own works apart from God’s ordinance. Therefore, righteousness is a wonderful gift from God to humanity through His love: it is the God-given quality imputed to man upon believing in the Son of God” (Philip Wijaya). God uses the blessings He provides to impute more and more right standing with Him to us. This righteousness is not simply based on our work but flows from God’s blessing through us to others. However, as we experience sanctification, we make effort, we work at growing in Christ. We seek to be righteous since righteousness is not something we drift into without effort. When God requires growth, He provides all we need for that growth.
Verse 13 helps us see how our generosity brings glory to God. John 15:8 tells us, “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” Peter also stated, “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12).
When we grasp the idea that the offerings we put in the plate during a worship service, when we pick up extra groceries for the food closet, when we help a family with finances that aid their fostering or adopting of children, when we donate to charitable, missionary, and educational institutions, we bring glory to God. Seeing that we glorify God with our generosity, who can help but be a cheerful giver? Glorifying God has everlasting effects.
C. S. Lewis reminds us, “The only things we can keep are the things we freely give to God.”
How are you seeing that God is equipping you for generosity? Pray about someone or some organization that needs a generous blessing from you? Hold your paycheck stub in your hand, thank God for it, and commit it, all of it, to be a blessing to others.