December 23, 2021
Scripture: The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 ESV
Observation: In this, Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, we see another example of the law of reciprocity (see yesterday’s devotion), again from positive and negative perspectives. Here, Paul implies that stinginess begets diminished returns, but generosity reaps bountiful rewards. Still, when we give to others or back to God, our attitude is all-important: “God loves a cheerful giver.”
Takeaway: From a negative standpoint, as Paul cautions, if we extend charity toward others from feelings of guilt or resentment, what we offer is no longer a gift but a payment to salve our consciences. And if we continue in this pattern, we will lose sight of our Father’s generosity toward us through his Son—diminishing the depth of our understanding of his abounding grace toward us. From a positive vantage, Paul tells us that when we provide for the needs of others with joyful hearts, we experience God’s abounding grace that is all-sufficient. Indeed, it is his grace that empowers us to do every good work that he has prepared in advance for us to do (verse 8 above and Ephesians 2:10).
Prayer: Father God, thank you for your Son who set the example of cheerful giving when “for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame” (Hebrews 12:2). Would you please help us to follow his example and be cheerful givers who seek not a worldly reward but your abounding grace? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling