September 17 | Bible in a Year: Proverbs 25-26; 2 Corinthians 9
Give It All You’ve Got
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give.
2 Corinthians 9:7
READ 2 CORINTHIANS 9:6–11
Scaling. It’s a term used in the world of fitness that allows room for anyone to participate. If the specific exercise is a push-up, for example, then maybe you can do ten in a row, but I can only do four. The instructor’s encouragement to me would be to scale back the push-ups according to my fitness level at the time. We’re not all at the same level, but we can all move in the same direction. In other words, she would say, “Do your four push-ups with all the strength you have. Don’t compare yourself with anyone else. Scale the movement for now, keep doing what you can do, and you may be amazed in time you’re doing seven, and even one day, ten.”
When it comes to giving, the apostle Paul was clear: “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). But his encouragement to the believers in Corinth, and to us, is a variation of scaling. “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart” (v. 7). We each find ourselves at different giving levels, and sometimes those levels change over time. Comparison is not beneficial, but attitude is. Based on where you are, give generously (v. 6). Our God has promised that the disciplined practice of such cheerful giving brings enrichment in every way with a blessed life that results in “thanksgiving to God” (v. 11).
By John Blase
REFLECT & PRAY
Generous God, I want to be a cheerful giver, to give it my best effort. I know that discipline in this area is crucial. Give me the wisdom not to compare, the strength to sow generously, and the faith to leave the results in Your hands.
How would you describe your giving: Cheerful? Reluctant? Under compulsion? Not comparing yourself to anyone else, what might cheerful giving look like?
Second Corinthians 8-9 contain the most comprehensive teaching on giving in the New Testament. The believers in Jerusalem were suffering in poverty because of a severe famine (Acts 11:28-29; Romans 15:26). The Macedonians, who themselves were “in extreme poverty,” responded with generous aid (2 Corinthians 8:1-5). However, the wealthy Corinthians had promised financial help but didn’t follow through. Paul now urges them to fulfill their pledge (2 Corinthians 8:6-11; 9:1-6).
Stewardship that honors God is voluntary, not compulsory (2 Corinthians 8:3; 9:5, 7); generous, not tightfisted (8:2; 9:6, 13); joyful, not begrudging (8:2-3, 11-12; 9:7); purposeful, not arbitrary (9:7); and within one’s means (8:11-13). God blessed the Corinthians materially so they could share that abundance with those in need (8:14-15; 9:8-11). Paul, quoting Psalm 112:9, says this about the cheerful giver: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever” (2 Corinthians 9:9).
Learn more about biblical stewardship, at Our Daily Bread University: Give, Save & Spend: Finances God’s Way. K. T. Sim