2 Corinthians 9:8 - And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having everything that you need, you will abound in every good work. Read all of 2 Corinthians 8 and 9.
Christian giving is supposed to be from the heart. The motive of love, and not the desire for rewards, should be the driving force behind Christian giving. The idea of getting something in return or the attitude of "What's in it for me?" must be foreign to true Christian giving. This guideline for giving is quite familiar to every growing Christian--even though we don't always practice what we preach! But now that we've stated this well-known fact about Christian giving, we should also note that the Bible does talk about rewards for Christian giving. The Scriptures very definitely state that giving is a "good deal"! The fact that Christians are not to give for ulterior motives doesn't mean that there are no rewards available! While the basic motive for giving shouldn't be rewards, there are rewards nonetheless for faithful Christian giving. In 2 Corinthians 9 at least seven rewards for giving are mentioned.In this chapter (as well as in chapter 8, which stresses principles of giving) the Corinthian church was called on to give to the needy church in Jerusalem. (See 1 Corinthians 16:1-4.) Although the context here concerns the giving of money, the application can be extended to all areas of Christian giving--our time and our talent, as well as our treasure. One of the rewards of giving is seen in verse 6: You will receive unlimited blessings. There is no ceiling or cut-off to these returns. Even the most lucrative schemes or sweepstakes in this world have limits to their purses, but not so with Christian giving. The amount of blessing that we reap is limited only by the manner of our sowing. (See Luke 6:38.) The proper sowing attitude is not just "sow big," but "sow on the basis of blessings". This is a more precise translation of the word that is rendered "bountifully" in some translations. To sow "on the basis of blessings" means that we should be involved in doing things that bring help and happiness to other people. Giving help to the student who has unfortunately missed some classes or to a mother struggling with several young children, or planning a happy surprise for a forgotten senior citizen is sowing "on the basis of blessings." Let's not give sparingly (v6) or hold back in a stingy way, but rather let's give purposefully (v7) and willingly (v7) and cheerfully (v7) and on the basis of blessings. Then we ourselves will reap on the basis of blessings. We will receive unlimited help and happiness in reward. These blessings may be material or tangible, but they may also be intangible. The reward of unlimited blessings is not proven by statistics but by your own experience. Try giving and see for yourself! The next two rewards of giving are found in verse 8: Your needs will be met and You will always have resources for giving. God is willing and able to supply us with everything necessary to meet our personal needs as well as the needs of our ministry of giving. Notice that the Scripture does not say that the Lord will give us all that we want! God knows us better than we know ourselves and He promises to meet our true needs, not our many selfish wants. The promise of verse 8 definitely extends to our needs in Christian service. We can never use the excuse, "I don't have anything left to give!" God promises to supply all the needs of every ministry He gives us. Notice the heavy emphasis on the "all's" of God's promise: All grace in all things at all times with all needs for all good works! Verses 10 and 11 also emphasize this promise of a constant supply for giving. You will be supplied with plenty of seed for sowing (v10) and you will be enriched in everything for all liberality (v11). In Christian giving, the well never runs dry! The word "grace" (v8) in this context certainly indicates that God is thinking of more than just material needs. What do you need? More strength to get through this semester or more patience with your roommate? More understanding in your relationships with your children or fellow-workers at your job? More love for your spouse? More courage to stand for Christ? More help or helpers for the ministry that God has given you? More tolerance for Christians who don't want to help in your ministry?! More tenderness with people who "rub you the wrong way"? More ideas for your fellowship group? Well, it's all there! Everything you need as an individual child of God and anything you need for the area of responsibility which God has given you is readily available. But remember that we're talking about rewards for Christian giving, not gifts for miserly, hoarding Christians who are unwilling to share in the areas of time, talent and treasure. A fourth reward of giving is stated in verse 9: Your record of giving will endure forever. Now that's something to think about! The records of famous heroes and stars of this world will be forgotten, but the record of simple Christians who gave of themselves will be remembered--forever! Verse 9 is a quotation from Psalm 112:9. This psalm refers to the actions and rewards of the godly person. "His righteousness" does not refer to salvation, but to the righteous deeds of the godly. These righteous deeds will remain forever because they will be published in eternity. Your Christian giving of time and effort and unsung "output" may not be recognized or appreciated now, but it will be for all eternity. So keep your sights set on retirement in heaven, not in Florida! "You can take it with you" when it comes to your record of Christian giving! In fact, all believers will take their record of Christian giving with them into eternity. It's a sobering thought that for some Christians this may not be much of a reward. Another reward of giving emerges from verse 10: Your returns will be according to the natural law of multiplication. The law of multiplication goes beyond the principle of "you reap what you sow." God has designed the laws of nature so that you reap more than you sow. This incredible principle is just as true and miraculous in the spiritual realm as in the natural. What a fantastic reward for those Christians who think they have only a "drop in the bucket" to give! The law of multiplication says that one drop can be multiplied into bucketfuls! Give a "drop" of your limited ability to the evangelistic project in your church or on your campus and a whole community of people can be blessed. Give a "drop" of your busy schedule to share the gospel with a neighbor or a lab partner, and a whole life can be turned around for God. Give a "drop" of your hard-earned cash to the printing and distribution of just one Bible in a foreign country, and the living Word of God can be read and obeyed for years by many believers. Yes, our limited giving can continue to ripple out in ever-widening circles--even after we've left this earth. The Lord of multiplication can do unbelievable things with our few little seeds, but the law of multiplication can't even begin to operate without any of our seed! A sixth and further reward for giving comes to us from verses 11-13: You are given credit for contributing to the glory of God. We see in these verses that the results of the Corinthians' giving to the church at Jerusalem went far beyond the mere supplying of the needs of the Christians there. Thanksgiving actually ascended to God in heaven, and these thanksgivings brought glory to God. Here's where Christian giving differs significantly from the giving of this world's charitable organizations. While we can be thankful for, and contribute to, some of these good organizations that assist worthy causes, we must recognize that they do not give specifically in the name of Christ. Giving in the name of Christ not only meets needs, but carries with it the reward of contributing to the glory of God. Normally we don't think of this reward when we make an encouraging phone call to a hurting brother or sister or when we give a few bucks to help a kid go to a Christian camp. But as thanksgivings ascend to God from the recipients of our giving, we are given credit for contributing to the glory of God. And giving glory to God is really what our lives are all about, when all is said and done. Investment in God's supreme theme and grand plan and purpose for this universe is a super reward! A seventh and final reward of giving is mentioned in verse 14: You will be prayed for by others. How many people are praying for you right now? Some Christians only get prayed for when they're sick or elderly or backslidden! As we begin to give of ourselves, we find that a solid foundation of prayer support begins to materialize beneath us. How important it is for believers to have a broad backing in prayer, especially when we realize that life involves warfare against spiritual forces (Ephesians 6:12). Every little bit of Christian giving not only meets the needs of others, but builds prayer protection and support for the giver in return. Verse 15 is certainly a fitting conclusion to the section of Scripture on Christian giving. All the rewards for Christian giving are only possible because God gave Himself for us. "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!"