2 Cor. 8 & 9:1-15 notes...
Paul is writing to the Corinthians about being generous in light of what he has heard about their willingness to give a liberal gift to some of the other churches. He is letting them know of his plans to send Titus and two other men along in advance to prepare the gift.
Some folks in the Macedonian churches demonstrated the joy of giving in faith and it appears God met it with supernatural means (i.e. they gave even beyond their ability). Amazing how extreme poverty can well up in rich generosity. They considered it a privilege to share with the saints by giving in this way. [Lord, I want to have that kind of attitude of eagerness and humility to share in the service of giving to the saints.] There is a certain grace of giving and he tells them to excel in it along with everything else. I think the only way you grow in excellence at it is by doing it.
Jesus Christ, though He was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, so that we through his poverty might become rich. Yes Lord! Thank You! You wanted us to become rich with all the riches you had with Your Father in glory. So you gave up everything. What a generous heart!
Paul advises them to match their willingness with action to complete the work--give the gift as promised. The gift is acceptable according to the willingness, not according to the amount. God sees our hearts.
Paul wants there to be equality among the churches. Lord, I bet maybe it is the same now? Are there certain churches struggling with poverty and need among us? That shouldn't be. There should be equality. I've never noticed this before in the Bible, never noticed this value emphasized before. But it goes all the way back to Exodus, to the israelites in the desert, if only the people [we now] would follow God's directions it will work out just fine. Trust is always a key element. Heaping and hoarding are never fruitful.
There's a timing element too. At this time, my need supplies your want; at another time--vice versa.
He takes pains to make sure the administration of things is done right not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men.
Then the glorious, very key, passage on sowing. Note this and remember: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. I think of the family I lived with. They sow generously in all different ways to all kinds of people and also reap generously. People are always giving them gifts. Trying to be an island in yourself and so self-sufficient you don't give as much or receive as much.
God loves a cheerful giver. He's a cheerful giver too! Can't you just see Him dancing and singing as He joyously "scatters abroad His gifts to the poor", having so much fun giving! His giving nature, His sowing nature is in us, His kids. His righteousness endures forever. I think that is saying here that these laws of sowing and reaping that He has put in place will be continuing to hold true forever... [Oh Lord I want to manifest this liberal, generous nature of Yours more and more in my life. I choose to develop it so You can be seen.]
God is the seed bank, seed supplier, seed storehouse. He supplies it to the ones who sow. I sow, Lord. You supply me seed. You also supply bread to eat and You by Your Spirit enable me to tell the difference between the two. Thank You that You will enlarge the harvest of my righteousness. It must be that it will be a continual enlarging, right Lord? Because when the seed is sown and produces the multiplied crop and then those are sown and so on---it's exponential!
"You will be made rich in every way... ! " MIX that one with faith. Why? SO THAT you can be generous on every occasion! Generous on every occasion!?!
What is the result of the generosity? Thanks to God. Daddy receives thanks. It supplies the needs of God's people and results in many expressions of thanks to God. People receive a kindness and they are moved to gratitude. When they see this connection between the speaking with words the gospel of Christ and the giving in concrete action and stuff out of obedience, they will praise, praise, praise! It makes me think of Isaiah 61, which Jesus quoted that day in the synagogue of Himself in Luke 4:18 "The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me because He has annointed me to preach good news to the poor." There's this wonderful richness that accompanies the news; our obedience in giving demonstrates God's heart of generosity toward us humans and a foretaste of the untold wealth of His Kingdom.
And also their hearts will go out to you and they will pray for you. All this giving and receiving and flow of life. Abundance all around! It's totally worth it to get involved. "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!"
I like to eat and drink and fly with and slog through and munch on and study and consider and wonder at and act out and cling to and wrestle with and plant and obey and savor and share discoveries of the Word of God in the Bible. These are some rough meditation notes.