Pastor John Piper began a sermon on money by saying,
Richard Halverson, the chaplain of the U.S. Senate, pointed out something that bothers a lot of people and excites a few. He said,
Jesus Christ said more about money than about any other single thing because, when it comes to a man’s real nature, money is of first importance. Money is an exact index to a man’s true character. All through Scripture there is an intimate correlation between the development of a man’s character and how he handles his money.
That is a good paraphrase of Matthew 6:21 where Jesus says, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” In other words, what your money goes after is a signal of what your heart goes after. And Jesus cares more than anything about what your heart is going after.
What our hands do with our money shows what our hearts are doing with God. Or to get right at the heart of the matter: what we do with our money shows what we believe God is doing with us. What money is to us shows what God is to us.
2 Corinthians 9:6-15 is the culmination of Paul’s teaching on the subject of giving. In 1 Corinthians 16:1-4, he explained the principles of giving. In 2 Corinthians 8, he presented the church in Macedonia as an example of generous giving. In 2 Corinthians 8:7, he challenged the church in Corinth to excel in the act of generosity. In 2 Corinthians 9:6-15, Paul explains the cycle of grace giving. We have been blessed in order to be a blessing.
Give generously (6-7). Each one of us has the responsibility and privilege of giving. Giving is to be planned (“decided”), kept private (“in his heart”), done willingly (“not reluctantly or under compulsion”), and joyfully (“cheerful”).
As we contemplate how much to give, we need to keep in mind two facts. (1) The law of the harvest. If we sow sparingly, we receive a rather thin harvest. If we sow generously, we receive a bountiful harvest. (2) God weighs our motives. He loves sincere (not reluctantly), willing (not under compulsion), cheerful givers.
God’s grace abounds to us (8a). When we give, God responds by pouring out his grace to us. Paul heaps four words together to make his point—“all grace,” “all sufficiency,” “all things,” and “all times.” God will give us all we need, not necessarily all we want.
We give even more to God (8b). God doesn’t bless us so we can be blessed. He doesn’t reward us for our own benefit. God pours out his grace so we can abound in every good work. We have been blessed in order to be a blessing.
God blesses us even more (10-11). God will multiply our seed and increase our harvest. We will be enriched in every way so we can be generous in every way. The cycle begins all over again. The more we give, the more we will be given by God to share with others.
There is a three-fold result to the cycle of grace giving. People’s needs are met (12a). God is praised and glorified (11b, 12b-13, 15). The giver is appreciated and prayed for (14). The cycle of generosity results in more and more people giving thanks to God.
Based on this passage, Christ followers should:
- Obey God’s command to give
- Be generous
- Trust the law of the harvest
- Have a proper view of God
- Give joyfully
- Trust God to keep his promise
- Seek God’s glory
We have been blessed in order to be a blessing.
This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on February 23, 2020. It is part of a series on Generosity. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.