Today we read 2 Corinthians 9:1-7
v1: Superfluous: Unnecessary. Redundant. If Paul were to write something to them regarding the ministry to the saints it would be excessive. This congregation were fulfilling this ministry, so it was not required for Paul to give instructions to them concerning this. Paul is demonstrating the confidence that he has that these individuals do indeed understand, and they want to do ministry in a generous manner.
v2: Willingness: Readiness. Preparation. Forethought. Doing something with intention. We should not stop at good intentions, but we need to carry them out.
- I boast of you to the Macedonians: Paul said good things to the Macedonian congregations about this Corinthian congregation. They had a good reputation or testimony of being a generous people.
- Achaia was ready a year ago: This collection for Achaia had already been prepared a year earlier. These individuals in Corinth took giving and collecting finances etc for others seriously.
- Your zeal has stirred up the majority: Their faithfulness was contagious. Their desire to give generously was a testimony that others saw, and it stirred within others this same desire to give generously. Generosity has a power to it. Generosity spreads.
v3: In the past this congregation had proven their faithfulness in generosity. Paul knows they will be ready with this next collection that they were taking up but nevertheless he sent others to confirm that they were indeed ready as well as to remind them of what their intention had been. At times we all have the best intentions, but things happen, and sometimes other things (busyness etc) can cause us to forget our intentions or to not be as prepared as we should be.
v4: Paul is taking the necessary steps to make sure that the testimony that he gave, the rejoicing that he had done on behalf of this congregation, would not have been done in vain. He also wanted to ensure that this congregation would not be shamed.
v5: Thought it necessary: Deemed it necessary. Considered it necessary.
- Ahead of time. Previously. In advance.
- Grudging obligation: Compulsion. When we do things in advance it bears testimony of our sincerity, that we have planned for this, that we desire to do it. Everything’s ready and it’s not an afterthought, It’s not something that we are compelled to do because of the situation but rather that it is something that we have prepared for.
V6: Note: In this verse Paul begins to tell us about the attitude that we should have in regard to giving. He also teaches us a Biblical principle concerning giving in a general sense.
- He who sows sparingly: This is not really a generous person. He is not bearing testimony of his strong commitment or his love. He gives, but he doesn’t give generously (abundantly) but sparingly.
- Bountifully (literally ‘blessing’): We can give to meet a need. When we give over and above the need that extra amount, the overflow, is seen as blessing (Luke 6:38).
- (Literally)The one who sows blessing, blessing he will receive: This is another one of G-d’s promises. This is an encouragement to not be a stingy people, but to be a giving people.
v7: Each one: This includes all of us.
- Purposes: Intends. When we give, we need to think deeply (research or investigate) about the needs of the person that we are going to give to, so that we can give intentionally into a legitimate need – not giving flippantly, casually or carelessly.
- Grudgingly (literally: Not from grief): We must not give in a way that causes us grief.
- Out of necessity: Being told that we have to give and then giving out of compulsion or out of a sense of obligation.
- Cheerful: The Greek word used here is related to ‘hilarious’. G-d loves it when a person has an opportunity to bless another, and they do it in such a way that they are filled with joy when they give. Giving (and this is not necessarily always financial) should cause us joy and bring us laughter because we know G-d’s so good and He has given us this opportunity to partner with Him.