Thursday, August 25, 2016

That Note about Generous Reassurance

So, 2 Corinthians 9 is Paul's appeal to the Corinthian church to follow up on a previous promise for donation to his work and ministry. The topic of money and giving is always a touchy one for most congregants, especially for those aware of all the prosperity gospel preachers, who then become acutely worried their pastor may be turning into one such individual. (Or, maybe it's just me, because I know I've had moments like that, being the cynic and skeptic I am)

That being said, It's not unheard-of for those in ministry to live off the donations of worshippers, after all, that was one of the reasons for the tithe back in Old Testament times - without it, the Levites would have had nothing to live on. Similarly, today, most pastors live off of either tithes alone or tithes plus a side job. To take an even more extreme example, missionaries rely almost completely on donations so as to not overly burden those they are ministering to (following the example of Paul himself).

So, giving is important, but, as Paul writes here, it is not compulsory:
"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." 2 Cor 9:7
Yes, Paul writes the verse before that one reaps in proportion to what one sows, but it is the verses following that stand out to me:
"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. ... 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." 2 Cor 9:8, 10
Paul is addressing what I often feel as someone looking to give, particularly outside of tithe. Basically, he's saying, "Don't be afraid to give; God will make sure you have what you need."

That's a pretty critical perspective. If we withhold charity out of fear of not being able to survive without what we'd give, the reassurance that God will give us what we need, in this case as a response to godly, charitable giving, is very, very freeing.

So, then, my question to you, the reader, is this:

What work or ministry are you missing out on because you are afraid to go without?