Monday, June 19, 2017

June 19 - 2 Corinthians 9

Today's reading in our daily plan is 2 Corinthians 9. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • Paul continues his thoughts from the previous chapter on the subject of money. Jewish Christians in Jerusalem were on the verge of starvation, and Paul knew that these Gentile Christians had an opportunity to reach out in compassion. Giving was a way to unify a growing and diverse church and meet a real physical need.
  • Paul then reminds them that he is sending Titus and others to retrieve the money they previously promised. He encourages them to prepare for this commitment ahead of time so they can give generously instead of begrudgingly.
  • Paul then stresses the importance of giving with a sense of joy instead of obligation. He shares a powerful promiseL If you give cheerfully to God, he will provide for your needs. He will give generously to you so you can continue to give generously.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • We all know a principle from "Investment 101": Whatever you put into something you will get out of it. This principle applies with God as well. Paul chooses to illustrate that principle with an analogy from farming, “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously," to show that reward is proportional to investment.
  • Giving is important, and our attitude in giving critical. Paul explains that we should give from a free and cheerful heart instead of from pressure or guilt.
  • Paul shows us some benefits of giving. If we are generous to God, he will be generous to us. In return, we should be even more generous. Why? Because giving helps supply the needs of people God loves and is a way to thank God for his love. Then, out of our generosity, those who receive it will give thanks to God as well. 
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • In the Old Testament God gives ten percent as the minimum standard for giving back to God (see Malachi 3:9-10, Leviticus 27:30, Proverbs 3:9-10). But, we see in the New Testament a new standard. This new standard is one of "generosity." If we really love God and love people we will want to give as much as we can. We look for opportunities to give more. Giving is an act of gratitude.
    • Is this how you view your money?
    • Do you give to Verve?
    • Do you give to the homeless or a great program like Compassion International? 
    • If the answer is no, why not? What are your excuses? What is standing in the way?
    • If you do give, are you giving the "expected" 10%, or are you giving generously, as much as you are able?
    • Remember, if you give with an open hand and open heart, God will always supply your needs and take care of you. You have nothing to fear and will experience the incredible joy of giving what was never yours to begin with.