September 30, 2011

Saturday after the Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity

Saturday after the Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity

Lectionary

Morning - Ps 68, 2 Sam. 19:11-23, 2 Cor. 9
Evening - Ps 67, 93, Mt 6:19

Commentary
2 Corinthians 9

Paul's "boast" about the Corinthians is that they were ready to give a year ago (9:2). Achaia is the southern tip of Greece, which resembles a hand on a map. It is superfluous for him to remind them of the offering again (9:1), but, in order to prevent embarrassment by not being ready, he reminds them again (9:3-5).

Verses 6-15 have often been distorted to mean that giving to the service of God ensures that God will multiply your gifts back to you. But Paul is not promising God will increase your material wealth just because you give money to His work. Such giving is not a gift but an investment. Its objective is not the glory of God, but personal gain. Paul is talking more about spiritual matters than financial matters. He is encouraging people to give freely expecting no financial return on their gifts. It is not to gain wealth that they are to give, but because they have already been blessed with it. The Corinthians were already prosperous people. God had already blessed them with material abundance. Now they are given a chance to help others who are in true need.
There will be benefits for their generosity. Truly God will make all grace abound toward them (9:8). But notice that the grace given is to enable them have sufficiency in all things that they "may abound to every good work." In verses 10 and 11 Paul prays that God will give them abundance, especially in righteousness. But he does not promise or imply that sending money to Jerusalem will guarantee them more money in return. The benefits of giving money are the same as those for every other thing they do in God's service. They cause the receivers to give thanks unto God (9:12), and they cause the givers to reap bountifully of the grace of God (9:6 & 8).