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10 things about generosity

The title of this message today is 10 things about generosity. I was reading through 2 Corinthians 9 recently and it inspired me.

It is the section where Paul writes to the Corinthian church about their offering for the Christians in Jerusalem. As I read through this passage, I noticed 10 things about being generous.

See if can notice some as I read through it. Now today I want Scripture to speak to our hearts.

Bible Reading

2 Corinthians 9:1-15

1 I really don't need to write to you about this ministry of giving for the believers in Jerusalem.

2 For I know how eager you are to help, and I have been boasting to the churches in Macedonia that you in Greece were ready to send an offering a year ago. In fact, it was your enthusiasm that stirred up many of the Macedonian believers to begin giving.

3 But I am sending these brothers to be sure you really are ready, as I have been telling them, and that your money is all collected. I don't want to be wrong in my boasting about you.

4 We would be embarrassed--not to mention your own embarrassment--if some Macedonian believers came with me and found that you weren't ready after all I had told them!

5 So I thought I should send these brothers ahead of me to make sure the gift you promised is ready. But I want it to be a willing gift, not one given grudgingly.

6 Remember this--a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop.

7 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure. "For God loves a person who gives cheerfully."

8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need, and plenty left over to share with others.

9 As the Scriptures say, "They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever."

10 For God is the One who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, He will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.

11 Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God.

12 So two good things will result from this ministry of giving--the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express they’re thanks to God.

13 As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ.

14 And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you.

15 Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!

Message points

1. It inspires others to give (v2)

2 Corinthians 9:2 - For I know how eager you are to help, and I have been boasting to the churches in Macedonia that you in Greece were ready to send an offering a year ago. In fact, it was your enthusiasm that stirred up many of the Macedonian believers to begin giving.

Paul says his boasting about their giving stirred up the other churches to think about their own giving.

Over the years I have known some very generous people and they have inspired me. Some have great jobs and businesses and they gave big offerings. Others were on a modest pension, but they still gave generously.

The key is to sow generously. Aim to be a blessing. Get excited about it too!

2. We reap what we sow (v6)

2 Corinthians 9:6 - Remember this--a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop.

Pauls likens our giving to a farmer sowing seed. We reap according the amount of seed we put in.

Moving to Merredin 11 years I have learned a lot about sowing and reaping. Farmers understand this principle more than most people. If you put in a small crop, you are only ever going to get a small crop back. If you sow widely, you give yourself the best chance of reaping a big harvest.

3. It is a choice (v7)

2 Corinthians 9:7 - You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure. "For God loves a person who gives cheerfully."

Giving is a choice that we must consider ourselves. Paul says it can’t be under compulsion and that God loves someone who gives cheerfully. At times in various churches I have felt under pressure to give to a building program or a special offering. It has made me uncomfortable.

I have always believed that giving is between you and God. You prayerfully ask God how much you should give to something, and when He speaks be obedient. The key for me is God owns everything. I just have to ask how much of what He has trusted to me is to be given.

4. Our good deeds live on (v9)

2 Corinthians 9:9 - As the Scriptures say, "They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever."

The NLT says that godly people give generously to the poor and that their good deeds will never be forgotten. If we think about the church at Corinth, we are reading about them nearly 2000 years later!

I would like to be remembered as a generous person. I think that honours God.

Psalms 112:9 - They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honour.

5. God gives us the seed (v10)

2 Corinthians 9:10 - For God is the One who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, He will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.

Verse 10 tells us that God gives us the seed to plant and the bread to eat. It also says He provides the increase to our resources.

I have found over the years that God gives us opportunities to be generous. We need to look out for them with expectant hearts.

I have heard it said that “we can’t out give God”. And that “if God can’t get it through you, then He will get it to you.” Both talk about being generous.

6. Our generosity will grow (v11)

2 Corinthians 9:11 - Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God.

The result of being generous is that God will enrich our lives so much that we can give even more generously. It goes on to say that people will thank God for us.

Our family has had a sponsor child for about 12 years. The girls were little when we got her. Now they are all grown up. Often in her letters she says she is thankful to God for us because we have changed her life.

7. Our giving meets other’s needs (v12)

2 Corinthians 9:12 - So two good things will result from this ministry of giving--the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God.

Verse 12 says that needs of Christians in Jerusalem are met by the Corinthians. Our giving meets the needs of those around us.

It is a good feeling to know that you have helped someone. I remember giving away food parcels to people in need. It is a great to be able to help in that way.

As Jesus said, “It is better to give rather than receive” (Acts 20:25).

8. People praise God (v12)

2 Corinthians 9:12 - So two good things will result from this ministry of giving--the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God.

The people on the receiving end of our gifts praise God. It is great to know when you can help answer someone’s prayer to God.

One man I helped a few years ago came to me for food. He was passing through town and camping in a tent. He had not eaten for days and looked very gaunt. I took him shopping and bought about $25 of groceries. He came back to thank me a few days later before he left town. He looked so much stronger, his face had filled out and he could not stop praising God for the church’s help.

9. Our gifts show we are true followers (v13)

2 Corinthians 9:13 - As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ.

Not only do our gifts bring glory to God, but they show that we are “obedient to the Good News of Christ”. I want to be known as a true follower of Jesus. I want my good deeds to bring glory to God. As Matthew 5:16 says, “In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”

Our good deeds show we are true to the Gospel and we belong to God.

10. We will be prayed for (v14)

2 Corinthians 9:14 - And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you.

Verse 14 tells us that the people on the receiving ends of our gifts will “pray for us with deep affection”. We all want to be prayed for with deep affection, don’t we? If people are praying for us like that, it shows we mean a lot to them. And our help does too.

As I said before about our sponsor child. She regularly says she is praying for us to be healthy, happy and prosperous. It is nice to know.

Closing Summary

I love this chapter about giving and being generous. These 10 reasons are why I am committed to a life of being generous. I want to be generous with my time, my money, my encouragement, my concern and my love for those around me.

Here are the points again for anyone who missed one. Our generosity…

   1. Inspired others to give
   2. We reap what we so
   3. It is a choice
   4. Our good deeds live on
   5. God gives us the seed
   6. Our good deeds will grow
   7. Our giving meets others needs
   8. People praise God
   9. Our gifts show we are true followers of Jesus
  10. We will be prayed for with affection

Amen

Let’s pray

Loving Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your generosity towards us. I thank You that You supply all of our needs. I thank You that You also supply enough for us to be generous to those around us. We are blessed to be a blessing. I pray that You will help us to be generous. More generous that ever before. In Jesus name, Amen.

By Dave Quinn
Founder of PASSIONAustralia.org

 

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