What do you have that was not given to you?
This can be a startling question. Without a deeper examination of our lives, we could assume there are a lot of things we have earned, made, or deserve. Many times I have found myself feeling possessive of things that I think belong to me. It can be things like my truck, my house, my savings, my job, my wife, my kids, my time, or my achievements. Not only is this selfish litany extremely prideful, but it is also ignorant of, and insulting to, the One who has given me all things.
In 2 Corinthians 9:6-11, Paul gives a call for believers to give liberally of their resources, time, and money. This is a common theme throughout the Bible and it is one that causes anxiety and stress for many pastors and Christians alike. There is a key paradigm shift in our thinking that must be made in order for us to, not only be obedient and cheerful givers, but to be grateful receivers as well. We are called to give (sow, plant) and there is a promise of reward (verse 6). How much should we give? We should give whatever we feel led to as long as we do not feel forced or unhappy about it (verse 7). This generosity is not to be a source of personal pride.
God gives us the grace and the ability to do good to others (verses 8-9). Not only does He give the ability and the grace but He provides the resources (seed), our food, and everything else we need so that we can continually give to others and never go without (verses 10-11). As a summary, God promises to supply whatever we need to give away (verse 11). That is an amazing promise! We need to stop and think about that for a minute. God promises to supply whatever we need to give away!
How would our lives be different if we could truly understand and believe what God has promised us in His Word? What would we spend our time and money on if we believed that none of it is ours? It is all His and He wants us to give it away. May we ask God to give us faith to live in a way that gives Him the glory for what He has done.
For a deeper study, see also: