In this chapter Paul continues his teachings on the subject of giving, with directions concerning the acceptable way and manner in which this grace should be performed, as well as some fresh arguments and encouragements for being diligent in the grace of giving.
(Vs. 1.) Paul thought it unnecessary to say much more to them about the offering or collection to be received for the poor and needy. He had covered the subject quite well and had sent three brethren to them, who knew the subject well and were capable of instructing them.
(Vs. 2.) He also was well acquainted with their willingness and had boasted of their zeal and enthusiasm in this matter to the churches of Macedonia. He told these other churches that Corinth was prepared last year to get on with this business, and this stimulated the majority of them to do likewise.
(Vs. 3.) Yet, knowing the frailty and changeableness of human nature, knowing the power of the enemy, knowing that men are prone to grow cold and indifferent and knowing the need for constant encouragement and teaching in spiritual matters, Paul sends the three brethren on their mission to Corinth (Matt. 26:41; Heb. 3:13, 14). "I want you not only to be ready in heart, but in hand, lest our boasting of you be in vain."
(Vs. 4.) Paul writes, "If I should come there and some of the brethren from Macedonia (to whom I had spoken so proudly of your charitable work) should come with me and find that you had done nothing, only talked about giving and sharing, I would be ashamed, to say nothing of your own embarrassment."
(Vs. 5.) "Therefore, I thought it necessary to send Titus and the brethren to you before I came down, that they might make arrangements in advance for this gift of yours which has been so much spoken of, that it may be received and ready. It must be a willing and generous gift, not a matter of extortion nor given reluctantly" (Exod. 35:5; 1 Chron. 29:9).
(Vs. 6.) A covetous person may think when he gives money, goods and alms to others that the amount given may be charged to loss, but not so! It is no more loss than the seed planted by a farmer is lost. The farmer must turn loose of the seed, give it up and bury it in faith that God will multiply it according to his will. So it is with giving. We willingly part with our gifts generously, sharing that which God has placed in our hands, knowing that he will supply our needs according to his will. The farmer must also be free and generous with the seed, for the more seed sown, the greater the harvest. If we give sparingly and grudgingly, we will reap the same, but if we are moved by God's grace so that blessings may come to others and we give generously, we shall also reap bountifully.
(Vs. 7.) "Let every person (not just the prosperous or a few) give as he has been led of the Spirit, as he has made up his own mind, as he has determined in his own heart and, of course, in proportion as God has blessed him. Let him give cheerfully and joyfully, not reluctantly nor out of duty and necessity, for God loves, takes pleasure in and blesses a willing, cheerful giver" (Prov. 22:9).
(Vs. 8.) Generous men do not lose by giving to others, for God is able to make all sorts of gifts (both spiritual and temporal) come their way (James 1:17; Phil. 4:19). "As you are enabled by God and moved in your hearts to give, the Lord will provide for you in all things and will also enable you to abound in other good works."
(Vs. 9,10.) This is a quotation from Psalm 112:9 and declares that the benevolent person who is merciful, generous and gives to others shall be blessed of God, and the fruit, influence and results of his work and example will live for ever. "God, who provides seed for the sower and bread for food, is both able and willing to supply you with whatever you need and bless your acts of kindness for his glory and the eternal good of those to whom you minister." It is God who gives us a willing heart, who supplies us with means to give and who uses the gifts we give for his glory.
(Vs. 11.) Works of charity and grace do not impoverish us, but rather are means to enrich us. Can a man lose by doing that which pleases God and that of which our Lord himself is the great example? (2 Cor. 8:9.) Give liberally with humility and simplicity, and God will enrich you in all things and your generosity administered to others will bring forth much thanksgiving to God.
(Vs. 12.) The two great ends of every believer's life are the glory of God and the good of others. As Paul and the apostles disperse the gifts to needy people, both of these ends are served. The needs of many are met and the people glorify God and give thanks to him.
(Vs. 13.) Most believe that this collection and these gifts were for the poor believers in Jerusalem and, being sent by these Gentile churches, would only cause them to glorify God the more and be strong proof of the Gentiles" subjection to, and love for, the gospel of Christ. True Christianity is a submission to the gospel of Christ, is evidenced by labours of love and works of charity and results in praise and glory to our God (Matt. 5:16).
(Vs. 14.) "Those whose needs are supplied by your generosity will respond and make the best return they are able, by loving you, longing for your presence and fellowship and praying for you."
(Vs. 15.) "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift, our Lord Jesus Christ the giver of every gift, the fountain of all blessings and the only Saviour of sinners." This gift is indescribable, inexpressible and beyond telling.