It’s a funny law of the universe––as we thank God for what we have, we naturally start to become less greedy and more generous. Thanksgiving isn’t just a holiday we celebrate in the United States, it’s a way of life and the “antidote” to some of our deepest issues! As we study Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 9 together, we’ll find the key to our own cheerfulness and our generosity to others lies in the same place: a life of gratitude.
1. Remember the source of the resource
2 Corinthians 9:6-7
- If we sow sparingly, we reap sparingly. An attitude of generosity only make sense if we truly believe in the provision of God. We have to remember the source of our resources! That’s the antidote to greed and hoarding. If we are not inclined to be generous people, then we are likely suffering from a fear that God will not provide for us.
- The principle of sowing and reaping doesn’t only apply to our finances, but to the other resources God has given us as well, like our time, our talents, our energy. All that we have comes straight from God. The only response to that realization is to give it right back to him by offering it to those around us.
- We need to ask God to show us how he wants us to invest our resources. Each of us has been given a unique life, situation, and set of talents. Because none of us are alike, we need to go to God to find out how to best use them.
What are you sowing in your life these days? How is God calling you to invest your resources?
2. Needs over greeds
2 Corinthians 9:8-11
- We need to focus on the things we actually need, not the things that drive our greed. We need to trust in our God far more than we need any earthly resources. We need the ability to cling to him more than we need to cling to things for ourselves.
- The concept of greed tells us the lie that if we focus on ourselves, we will expand our world. The reality is that when we get focused on our greed, our world actually becomes smaller. Our obsession with possessions cuts out relationships and our focus on God’s kingdom.
What are the things you truly need today? Are there any resources God’s given you that you are “hoarding”? How can you trust God with all you have?
3. Go S-P-E-L-L out the gospel
2 Corinthians 9:12-13
- Our lives are living testimonies of the gospel of Jesus––your life might be the only gospel some people ever hear! Our actions and the way we live our lives tells a story, and we want that story to reflect Jesus and point others to him.
- People’s eyes will turn to God as they see the obedience with which we live, because obedience to God is automatically counter-cultural. A way of life that teaches humility, self-sacrifice, and joy in the midst of suffering is the kind of life that makes people look to God.
What message is your life spelling out? What voices are you obeying?
4. You already have the greatest gift ever given
2 Corinthians 9:14-15
- As we take stock of the resources God’s given us, it’s important to remember that we already have the greatest gift ever given, the “indescribable gift” of Jesus himself. While we are thankful for the way God provides for our needs, the greatest need we’ve ever had is to be reconciled to God. And that need was met through the finished work of Jesus before we were ever born.
- It is grace from Jesus that connects us, not only to God, but to each other. As we live in that finished work, we are not only reconciled with God, but also with those around us. We can see restoration and resurrection in our relationships in ways that are downright miraculous!
Spend some time praising God for his gift of grace in Jesus and for the other gifts he’s given you too. How can you cultivate thankfulness as a lifestyle?
Optional Follow-up Questions:
- What makes you say that?
- How do you feel about that?
- How would you explain your answer to a non-Christian friend or neighbor?
- Why did God design it to work that way? Why not just do (whatever else) instead?
- What would you say to someone who disagrees with that?
- Why do we really have to do it like that? Why can’t we just go (some other route) instead?