The Cycle of Generosity
By Jen Marin
Verses To Read:
Regardless of what our financial state might be, we all seem to have opinions about what other people do with their money. We talk about money so much that we even have a variety of expressions describing people’s relationships with money, even when it’s really none of our business. If a person tends to hold more tightly to their means, they could risk being described as a miser, penny-pincher, tightwad, cheapskate, stingy, or a Scrooge. We don’t usually associate positive character traits with these descriptions; in fact, we tend to, whether deserved or not, associate how these people handle their money with selfishness.
On the other hand, look at how we often describe what generous people are doing: giving the shirt off their back, paying it forward, giving back, making a difference, lending a helping hand. We tend to regard a generous person more highly because they are using their money to make a difference in someone else’s life.
Even when it’s none of our business and not about us, we really do care what people do with their money.
So does God. In fact, He has a lot to say about what we do with our money. So much so that in the Bible we are given more instructions of how to handle money than on any other topic. In this passage of 2 Corinthians 9, Paul speaks about Godly generosity. Let’s take a quick look at these verses.
In verse 6, Paul reminds us that we all will reap a harvest from what we sow (plant or invest of ourselves). As our generosity grows, so does our return from that generosity.
In verse 7, we are to decide what we will give of our own free will, then be happy about it. He goes on to say that God loves a cheerful giver- the joy we choose to have in giving moves the heart of God!
Verse 8 builds on the previous instructions, telling believers now that they have learned to give generously with a good attitude, “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”. The blessing spoken of here comes with the idea of contentment, so not only will we have what we need, we will be content with what we have. Our blessings then allow us to continue to bless others.
Verses 10 and 11 tell us that in addition to physical blessings, we will also gain spiritual blessing from generosity. As we are faithful to give, God will continue to bless us with extra, specific means to bless others. He will give us enough that not only will we have enough for ourselves, but we will also have an extra amount to give away. God will then multiply what we give, as only He can. This cycle of blessing and giving goes on and on.
Verses 12 and 13 give us the results of these giving cycles: the generosity of cheerful believers not only supply the needs of God’s people but also causes people to give an overflowing of expressions of thankfulness to God. People in the world around us will praise God because of our obedience in generosity that goes along with the gospel message.
God loves to give His children good things. He also loves for His children to give good things to others and to bless us as we do it. Can you imagine the good we could do, the needs we could meet, the kingdom of God we could build, if we all had a part in this cycle of generosity?
Questions To Consider:
1. How would you describe yourself as a giver? Would you call yourself a cheerful giver?
2. Where would you place yourself in the cycle of generosity? What next step can you take to used by God to bless the world around you?
Prayer to Pray:
Lord, I thank you for your generosity toward me throughout every area of my life. I pray that I would have a heart that does not hold too tightly to my blessings and would freely give from what you have given me. I ask for a heart for people so that I might give in such a way that brings praise to your name. Amen