I. God’s grace abounds to the cheerful giver (8-11a)
II. Generosity produces thanksgiving (11b-15)
I. God’s grace abounds to the cheerful giver (8-11a)
- What does the “grace” in verse 8 refer to?
- What do we learn about God in this passage?
- What does it mean to have “all sufficiency in all things?”
- What result or return is God hoping to see from His investment of grace in you?
- In verse 10, what does the seed represent?
- For what purpose does God give us more seed?
- How are you supposed to use the seed you have been given? How specifically can you do this?
- How can the harvest of righteousness be increased with materials or money?
Matthew 6:26 – Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
Matthew 6:30 – But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Philippians 4:19 – And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Matthew 7:11 – If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
Psalm 37:25 – I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.
Psalm 34:10 – The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
Verse by Verse Commentary
1. God is able to make all grace abound to you – The grace mentioned here is not referring to salvation or forgiveness of sins. God gives us all different types of grace. Grace is an undeserved gift. Thus, the rain, good health, and a clear mind are all a result of God’s grace.
In this context, the grace refers to material provisions, money. A person might question, “If I give to God, will I have enough to take care of myself and my family?” And the clear answer is, “yes.”
God is more than able to take care of all of your needs and your family’s needs. Every single thing in the universe belongs to Him.
Psalm 50:10-11 – For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine.
God spoke the universe into existence. He knows all of your needs and He is fully capable of making sure those needs are met. Just as He may use you to bless others in their time of need, He may use others to bless you in your time of need.
It is important for us to realize that physical provision from God is called “grace” here. There are many self-reliant people who believe that everything they have is due completely to their own hard work. They discount God’s involvement. When people do this, they forget that “every good gift is from above.” (James 1:17) A person’s skills, talents, opportunities, health, and mind are all from God. So in the end every single thing we have is grace. Without God we not even be alive!
Application: God is able to make all grace abound to you. Our role is to believe this, to place our full faith in Him. We should view ourselves in a humble way, acknowledging that the good things in our lives are a result of His blessings. When we realize this truth, it will motivate us to be more generous because we know that our Heavenly Father looks out for us. There are probably times in your life when you worry and stress about your financial situation. You can safely cast these worries onto Him and rest in the assurance that He will provide abundantly for you.
2. That you may abound in every good work – Here and again in verse 10 we see that God wants a return on His investment in you. He pours out blessings on you for a reason. He does not want to see you pridefully claiming credit and glorifying yourselves. Neither does He want you to selfishly hoard what you have been given.
James 4:3 – You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
From this verse we see that God doesn’t always provide abundantly. He doesn’t always pour out His grace. It is a gift. When He knows that a person will selfishly waste what they have received on their own pursuits, He may refrain from giving.
God seeks to see us “abound in every good work.” The materials He gives to us are to be used for Him. They provide us a better opportunity for building His kingdom. In the parable of the talents, the master left some resources into the care of his servants. The master expected that his servants would use these resources wisely and increase them.
In the same way, God gives us this grace so that we can be wise stewards and turn these into increase blessings for His kingdom.
Reflect: List out some ways that you can use money or physical resources to abound in every good work. What are some various good works that you can do with money (besides giving to your local church)?
2. He has distributed freely (verse 2) – This passage is quoted from Psalm 112:9. God is not stingy. He happily distributes resources to His people.
3. He supplies seed to the sower – In this passage the seed refers to money (and materials). The illustration helps us to have a clear understanding of God’s role and ours. It also helps us have a Biblical worldview toward money.
Firstly, it teaches us that He supplies the seed. There is no such thing as a “self-made man.” Every resource is from God.
In Genesis, we learn that Adam was caretaker of the Garden of Eden. But God created it. He placed it in Adam’s care. Adam’s job was to work and cultivate it, to make sure it was tended. He also as to watch over the animals and even gave them names. Adam was the wealthiest person in the world. In a sense, everything in the world belonged to him. Yet in reality it belonged to God. Adam was a steward. He had everything, but it was grace. It was a gift. And as steward, he was to watch over these things in obedience to God and for His glory.
The same is true today. Whatever we have, is given to us by God. He is the supplier. That fact demands a certain humility from us. It also teaches us to be dependent on Him.
Secondly, we see our role. We are called “the sower.” That title shows us clearly what we are to do with the seed.
A farmer may hire someone to help him sow the seed. He gives the worker a bag of seed and tells him to get to work. The farmer has a right to expect that the worker will go out into the field and plant the seeds. If the worker does not do that, what do think his boss will do? The farmer will fire the worker, take the seeds back, and give them to someone else who will do the job.
In like manner, God places resources in our hands to be used! He gives us seed that He expects to be sowed!
Reflect: How does this perspective change how we use money? What are some uses of money that may not fit with this perspective?
Thirdly, we see that when we perform our role to sow the seed, God brings about increase.
If the worker finishing planting all the seeds in his bag, then the farmer will give him another.
God will always provide enough seeds for the industrious worker. And He will “increase the harvest of your righteousness.” Those seeds will grow and result in a crop. Your good deeds done for the Lord will not be in vain.
Galatians 6:9 – And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Application: We should have a correct attitude toward money. It is given by God. It is to be used for God. Is there any area where you perspective toward money needs to change to align with what we have learned in this passage?
4. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way – Here once again we see God’s desire on a return for His investment in our lives. He blesses us and in turn He wants us to be pass on those blessings to others.
This is true in every way, not just in finances. When you learn from God’s Word, you should pass that knowledge on to others. When you have a testimony of God’s goodness, you should share it. If you have a home, you should use it hospitably. There are many areas which we can be generous in!
II. Generosity produces thanksgiving (11-15)
- Why does God enrich His people?
- Share some different ways people have been generous to you?
- What are creative ways you can be generous to others?
- What outcome does generosity produce?
- Who is giving thanks, the giver or the recipient?
- Since a key goal of giving is generating more thanksgiving to God, how should this effect your own attitude and motivation toward giving?
- How does giving encourage people to glorify God?
- When does giving not glorify God?
- What indescribable gift does Paul refer to in verse 15? How does this motivate you?
- Have you evaluated your own giving yet? What key lessons will you keep in mind about giving as you move forward?
Ecclesiastes 11:6 – In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.
Isaiah 55:10-11 – “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but sit shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
Hosea 10:12 – Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.
Psalm 107:1 – Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
Psalm 100:4 – Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!
Hebrews 13:15 – Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.
Verse by Verse Commentary
1. Which through us will produce thanksgiving – One of the ways the harvest of righteousness is increased is in thanksgiving. We see this theme is repeated again in verse 12.
Verse 12 says that this ministry is “not only supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.”
God’s desired outcome for giving is not just physical provision, but more importantly hearts that warm in thanks to their Lord.
A lack of gratitude is a very ugly thing. Parents are often horrified at children who complain about every little thing and don’t stop to give thanks for their blessings. But parents are very pleased when they see their children graciously receive gifts with hearts and lips full of thanks to the giver.
In a similar manner, our Father delights to see us thankfully receive His gifts and then pass them on.
Reflect: Who is the most thankful person you know? How does their words of gratitude effect others?
2. They will glorify God – The ultimate goal of generosity is glorifying God. That is important to know because it also affects our attitude and method of giving.
For many people, when they give they want to get the credit for themselves. Thus they make a big show and attract attention. When they do this, they are stealing God’s glory. The focus is taken off of the Lord and put on man. Putting man in God’s place is a type of idolatry.
We should give in such a way that the focus is always on God. We want Him to receive the glory. All the thanks should go to Him. Jesus should be the center of attention in every exchange of gifts because He made it all possible. Every gift is an opportunity to celebrate again the grace we have received from the Lord.
So we should have no desire to manipulate situations to get attention or credit for ourselves. Giving God should not become some platitude where we say, “praise God,” but in our hearts seek affirmation from man. Instead, we should sincerely seek to focus our own hearts on Christ’s goodness. As we do that we can encourage others to appreciate the greatest giver of gifts.
3. While they long for you and pray for you – Believers should have the same attitude toward one another. We should lift each other up in prayer. And we should seek deep Christian fellowship.
4. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift – Paul ends his discourse on giving with this statement. The best gift in history was Jesus Christ. God gave His only Son for us. That fact should be the primary motivator for us to give generously. Jesus voluntarily laid down His life. He did it joyfully and sacrificially. In the same way, we should joyfully and sacrificially sacrifice everything we have for Him.
Application: Based on these two chapters of principles on giving, what do you need to obey? Does your perspective toward money need to change? Does your giving plan need to be adjusted?
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