But this I say, he which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work… (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)
In 2 Corinthians (chapters 8 and 9) Paul was collecting donations for Christians who were in need. Paul was not raising personal financial support for his own ministry. Paul was very careful to use the utmost integrity when receiving any donations. In fact Paul was being extremely careful in how this donation was being handled so that no accusation could be levied (see 2 Corinthians 8:16-21).
Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthians regarding this gift had to do with their unfulfilled enthusiasm. Now a year later, the Corinthians had not yet fulfilled what they were so eager to support a year earlier.
To motivate the Corinthians to stop dragging their feet, Paul tells them how the Christians in Macedonia, who themselves were having difficultly, stepped up and gave generously anyway. The Corinthians were more prosperous and in better position to help than were the Macedonians, yet the Macedonians were the ones who came through and did what the Corinthians had committed to do, but failed to finish.
Paul exhorts the Corinthians to follow the Macedonians example of generosity by actually doing what they were previously eager to do, which was to help their brethren in need. Paul does not tell the Corinthians to give what they do not have, but only from what they do have. Notice Paul’s words from 2 Corinthians 8:10 -15.
Here is my advice: It would be good for you to finish what you started a year ago. Last year you were the first who wanted to give, and you were the first to begin doing it. Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving. Give in proportion to what you have. Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have. Of course, I don’t mean your giving should make life easy for others and hard for yourselves. I only mean that there should be some equality. Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal. As the Scriptures say, “Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough.” (TNLT)
It is to be regretted that giving has been so abused within modern Western Christianity, where God’s people are sometimes taught to give until it hurts by giving what they can’t afford to give. Yet Paul says, “give according to what you have, not what you don’t have.”
Giving until it hurts, is often taught under the guise sowing seed, or seed faith giving, which is a man made ideology and not a Biblical doctrine.
This ideology teaches people that they can activate spiritual laws of prosperity to obtain material blessings if they will sow and keep on sowing, or to put it another way – “keep giving your money (your financial seed) to the minister (sowing into the good ground) and God will prosper you.”
Paul never taught such a concept.
When Paul says what he says in 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 (mentioned at the beginning of this teaching) it is within the context of giving out of Christian love to help others.
Paul did not teach giving as a way to activate a spiritual law of prosperity. Instead, Paul tells the Corinthians that God will provide for them like he provides seed for the farmer so that their generosity would bring forth a harvest of thanksgivings to God from the hearts of those who benefited from their generosity.
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. 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. 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. And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you. Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words! (2 Corinthians 9: 8-15)
The context of Paul’s word in 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 have nothing to do with activating spiritual laws for personal wealth and prosperity. It has everything to do with Christian love expressed through generosity which in turn brings glory to God.
TRUE CHRISTIAN GIVING
WAS PAUL A RICH PREACHER?