2 Cor. 9:6-15
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.”[a] 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.”[b]
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[c] 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[d] will be met, and they will joyfully express their 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[e] too wonderful for words!
Here’s some biblical principles I think we can apply if we want to have generous hearts…
- 1) Give generously
I would love to say “God commands you to give10%”. That would enable us to do all God’s calling His Church to do. BUT, if instead we give generously, you will add depth to your relationship with God, which is the real goal.
10% doesn’t require us to wrestle with God. It forces us to wrestle with a budget number of 10%. A decision to be generous makes us wrestle, regularly, with God Himself. That forms relationship.
So is the 10% tithe in the Old Testament still in effect? If you give generously you don’t have to worry about the law of the tithe it will be covered. I would find it hard to believe someone would think if 10% was mandatory anything less would be generous. Generosity fulfills the OT law of tithing.
- 2) Give cheerfully
You should enjoy giving. You should love seeing what God does with your generous gifts. My parents would put money in envelopes and leave them in mailboxes of people they knew had needs. It was alot of fun for them to hear these people talk about the anonymous gift that showed up at just the right time. When I was working with the Church in Africa they would literally dance up to give offerings! They gave cheerfully!
Why don’t we have a sense of cheerfulness with our giving? Maybe we don’t see the need. You need to get involved in the work of the Church not just give money. You need to see what your generosity results in. You can’t pay someone else to be Christian for you.
Maybe you’ve never experienced giving generously before so you don’t believe it’s a positive thing. If you’ve never given enough away to force you to depend on God, then cheerful giving is going to be tough. You’ve need to try it to discover its benefits.
- 3) Plan to give
“You must each decide in your heart how much to give.” 2 Cor. 9:7
What you give is a conscious, planned, decision. Not a spur of the moment… “Let me see what I have.” Paul tells us where this sense of generosity begins… not in your bank account but in your heart. It’s the decision and not the dollars that create the generous giver. Generosity is a deliberate decision. Giving is a decision of the heart.
- 4) Give anytime you can help meet a need
9 Then Jesus went over to their synagogue, 10 where he noticed a man with a deformed hand. The Pharisees asked Jesus, “Does the law permit a person to work by healing on the Sabbath?” (They were hoping he would say yes, so they could bring charges against him.)
11 And he answered, “If you had a sheep that fell into a well on the Sabbath, wouldn’t you work to pull it out? Of course you would. 12 And how much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Yes, the law permits a person to do good on the Sabbath.”
13 Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored, just like the other one! 14 Then the Pharisees called a meeting to plot how to kill Jesus.
Don’t let the law get in the way of the principle. If someone needs help and you can meet the need, don’t wait, do it. Decide to be generous at all times. God has given us a unique opportunity to meet the needs of his kingdom, the question is will we release what he’s put in our hands?
- 5) Give at times sacrificially
41 Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. 42 Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins.[a]
43 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. 44 For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.”
I do not believe that everyone is able to give 10%, nor do i believe that those that can afford to give more should only give 10%. My point is that we should give willfully and cheerfully what we can give. It’s not the amount it’s the heart. The widow had a generous heart and that meant, for her, she gave everything. Sometimes generosity will lead us to give everything!
When we give from 10% the source is ourselves. When we give from a heart of generosity the source is God. Generosity doesn’t start in your bank account it starts in your heart. It’s a conscious decision to say, “I will be generous with whatever I have.”
Paul says there was a spiritual law at work in the situation: “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” It is a simple law of creation that those who are generous are blessed of God. But it is a mistake to think of these rewards or blessings as always being material. I think we can all attest to the difference in “blessedness” between a successful person who continues to be preoccupied with accumulating material things and an equally successful person who uses their blessings to bless others.
In 2 Cor. 9:12 we are reminded that generous giving doesn’t just stop at meeting physical needs but it provides “many expressions of thanks to God”. It proves our love for God, it meets the physical needs of others, it inspires others to be generous, and it leads people to pray for each other to repeat a few of Paul’s observations. In short, the decision to be generous builds up the kingdom of God!