A POVERTY MINDSET?
Fill my heart with Your presence today, Holy Spirit.
Read 2 Corinthians 9
9 There is no need for me to write to you about this service to the Lord’s people. 2 For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action. 3 But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you in this matter should not prove hollow, but that you may be ready, as I said you would be. 4 For if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we—not to say anything about you—would be ashamed of having been so confident. 5 So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given.
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written:
“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever.”[a]
10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
a 2 Corinthians 9:9 Psalm 112:9
New International Version (NIV)
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ReflectHow well-off do you feel in terms of a) money and b) time? Do you have too little, just enough or sufficient to spare?
Paul has potentially overpromised on behalf of the church at Corinth. If their contribution to the poor Christians in Jerusalem does not materialize, both he and they will be embarrassed (4). It is easy to intend to be generous; it is quite a different thing to deliver. However, Paul is convinced that if the desire is there, God will supply the ability to give (6).
But can we afford to be generous? Paul reflects on a number of Old Testament passages (Psa. 112:9; Isa. 55:10; Hos. 10:12) without directly quoting any of them. Scripture has given him a deep conviction about how God works in the world. The main issue is whether we have a mindset of poverty or abundance. When we see what we have as ours it can seem very limited. But when we see it as God’s, it is part of his vast resources.
Even the act of generous giving produces so much: it enriches the giver and produces thanksgiving to flow from those who have received or witnessed such generosity (11,12). In fact, this generous giving is itself the product of God’s “surpassing grace” (14) and a reflection of his indescribable gift, which is most evident in Jesus (8:9).
Sometimes we only discover the abundance of God’s resources when we give away the little we have (cf. 1 Kings 17:7–16). How might God be inviting you to share in his generosity?
Jesus, give me wisdom to know how and where and with whom to share the blessings You have given me.