HEALTH AND WEALTH
Lord, before the words of the day assail me, I wait for your word to me. Speak Lord, I am listening.
Read 2 CORINTHIANS 9:6-15
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!
- 2 Corinthians 9:9 Psalm 112:9
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Take stock today of the ways in which you have been blessed. Do not take any of it for granted. Give thanks to God for everything.
We hear from some quarters about the so-called ‘health and wealth’ gospel – the idea that if we trust in God then good health and overflowing wealth are as good as guaranteed. For some it is an enticing doctrine, yet it seems to bear no relation to the ‘man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief’1 we recognize in Jesus, nor indeed to Paul’s own sufferings. Then again, it is not as though God wants us to be sick and to live in poverty! This passage has much to say about the generosity of God toward us and God’s ability ‘to bless you abundantly, so that … you will abound in every good work’ (v 8). There is indeed a promise here that those who freely take the risk of giving all to God and imitating God’s generosity will have no cause to fear that they will go without (v 6).
What is at stake is the difference between a promise and a technique. Once we have turned faith into a technique by which we manipulate God, to gain a particular advantage, we have certainly gone astray. That is a pagan, not Christian, way of relating to God, an attempt to magic out of God what we believe to be in our own self-interest. This is not what Paul speaks of here. He is concerned with the God of promise who can be trusted to provide for those who freely trust him. God gives generously so that we may live generously (v 11). In view here are the poor (v 12), not already wealthy organizations or individuals.
It is true that we reap what we sow. What we give out determines what we receive back. Sowing is a specific and intentional action, a task that we deliberately set about. Let’s always turn in that direction.
‘To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.’2
Generous One, I long to give in thankfulness and joy, for the furtherance of the gospel around the world.
1 Isa 53:3, ESV 2 Rom 2:7
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