Online Bible Commentary
God Loves a Cheerful Giver
2 Corinthians 9:1 Now concerning the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you; 2 for I know your willingness, about which I boast of you to the Macedonians, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal has stirred up the majority. 3 Yet I have sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this respect, that, as I said, you may be ready; 4 lest if some Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we (not to mention you!) should be ashamed of this confident boasting. 5 Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation. 6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. (NKJV)
On his third missionary journey, after ministering in Ephesus for two years and three months, the Apostle Paul left for Macedonia in May, A.D. 56. Paul was in Macedonia from June to November of that year. It was there that he wrote the letter of 2nd Corinthians, likely in September and October of A.D. 56.
Paul is writing this letter to the church at Corinth, Greece. This is a message directed to those Christians and to all Christians today.
After arriving in Macedonia, Paul was greeted by Titus who had come from Corinth. Titus delivered news of the goings on in Corinth. The church in Corinth had previously been mature in their belief. However, over the past year (2 Corinthians 9:2) they have followed false teachers.
Thankfully, Titus reported that the Corinthian believers had repented and returned to the teachings of Paul. So, it is now time for the Corinthians to complete the task of giving, that they had begun a year ago, a task that was interrupted when they turned away from the teachings of Paul.
In this passage, Paul begins by writing how “superfluous” it is for him to even be writing to them about this subject (v. 1). The word superfluous means “unnecessary”, in abundance. It is unnecessary that he has to be writing more about this subject, more than he had previously in this letter.
After all, Paul had been boasting “a year ago” to the Macedonians that a “majority” of the Corinthian believers were all set to begin giving (v. 2). So why can’t they just take the initiative and complete that task!
Paul continues by writing “Yet I have sent the brethren” (v. 3a). The “brethren” refers to Titus and two unnamed brothers in Christ. The three men will be delivering this letter to the Corinth church.
Paul is sending these men to insure that “our boasting of you” is not “in vain” and the Corinthian believers are “ready” to begin the task of giving (v. 3b). Paul would then follow Titus and the others to Corinth in order to collect the offerings.
In the event that some Macedonians accompany Paul to Corinth he does not want himself, or the Corinthians, to be shamed by not being prepared with the offerings (v. 4). Thus, Paul is sending Titus and the others in advance “to prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised” a year ago (v. 5a).
Paul calls the gift “generous”, referring to the desired manner of giving. He writes “that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation” (v. 5b).
Next, Paul gives us an example of this generosity. He writes “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (v. 6).
In referring to the law of the harvest, Paul is saying that the more we give the more blessings we will receive. These blessings, not necessarily financial, would be much more than what we give. We cannot out give God!
Paul completes this passage by referring to how we should give. We should not give grudgingly, or out of duress. God does not need our money. God owns it all and will find others who are willing to give to His work. Of, course we will miss out on some of the blessings that God has stored up for us.
Instead, we should give from our heart, from a heart that loves God and our fellow Christians. God wants us to give cheerfully. “God loves a cheerful giver” (v. 7).