The AMI QT Devotionals from May 8-14 are provided by Emerson Lin. Emerson, a graduate of University of California, San Diego, serves as a staff at Kairos Christian Church, while studying at Talbot School of Theology. He is married to Annie.
DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY
2 Corinthian 9:6-11
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.9 As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever. 10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
Last week, a deacon and I went to East Asia to serve at a retreat. Since we arrived a few days earlier, we were able to spend time with the local church leaders. During lunch time, we met with a group of leaders to hear how God was working in the church—it was a time of laughter and encouragement. But once the bill arrived at our table, we started to bicker back and forth over the bill, and each time, the church leaders would tell me, “Just accept love.” While I was frustrated with not “winning,” I was incredibly encouraged to see how eagerly they wanted to bless us with their finances.
In this passage, Paul uses an illustration of planting seeds and applies it to the area of generosity. We see that the Corinthian church had not yet given money to the Jerusalem church but have only eagerly wanted to do so. Therefore, Paul uses this passage to explain the spiritual blessing behind being generous—just in case they decide not to give.
Like the Corinthians, I believe that many of us fall into this struggle with generosity. In our minds, we know that generosity is a spiritual blessing; but when we actually are called to give money, it becomes a spiritual struggle. Paul describes three blessings that come from being generous: First, he makes it clear in verses 6, 8, and 10, that generosity leads to material blessings, along with an increasing desire to become more generous. Second, Paul understands that our battle with generosity is a process of our sanctification. As we grow in righteousness, it will become easier to give. Verse 10 and 11 says, “…and will enlarge your harvest of our righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion…” Lastly, our generosity leads to greater worship onto the Lord. The end of verse 10 says, “…and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”
For myself, I struggle with generosity because I struggle with trusting in the Lord with my heart, mind, and strength. However, as I am learning more about generosity, I realize that God is in control and always provides. Do you struggle with offering your finances to the Lord? If so, what are your reasons? I want to encourage you with this passage that shows us that spiritual blessings will come for those who strive to become generous.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for being a generous God. You gave us your most precious gift, Jesus. You ask that we imitate You and be generous with our resources. I know that being generous is a struggle, so I ask for more of Your grace to cover me in this area. I want to grow in my generosity, ultimately to see people worship You! Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Deuteronomy 2
LUNCH BREAK STUDY
Read Acts 4:32-35: Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.
Questions to Consider
- What fueled generosity within the church after Pentecost?
- According to this passage, what kind of perspective does a believer need to be generous?
- How is your generosity? Has it grown over the years? What (fear?) is holding you back?
- Unity was a key factor in having people sell their possessions and give to those in need.
- A believer needs to understand that what they own truly does not belong to them, but to God.
- Personal response.
In light of today’s sharing on generosity, what are some reasons that hinder you from becoming generous? What are some practical steps that you can take to become more generous to your church community or others who are in need?