On October 15, Pastor Jim preaches on 2 Corinthians 9:10-15.
He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; 12 for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God. 13 Through the testing of this ministry you glorify God by your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ and by the generosity of your sharing with them and with all others, 14 while they long for you and pray for you because of the surpassing grace of God that he has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:10-15)
The above passage is only one of several that involve Paul’s 10-year plan to raise money for the church in Jerusalem. It was money given by gentile Christians for Jewish Christians. The believers were trying to survive a famine. They were poor and in need.
Passages like this have been used to promote the idea that if you give money to God, specifically through the ministry of the preacher doing the promoting, God will bless you financially. It’s a formula to get rich. “You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity.” v. 11
Allow me to retort. Jan and I give sacrificially. I’m not bragging, because we probably could give more, but the truth is we do, just like the other pastors here.
Jan and I both have great jobs, and we are blessed to be able to give a good percentage of our salaries to Oak Hill. I give my part electronically, which is good because I tend to be absent-minded.
Paul was correct; we have been “enriched in every way,” but we aren’t rich—at least not as “rich” is understood in our affluent culture. On occasion, we still run out of money at the end of the month.
Generosity is not a formula; it’s a way of life. It’s a fun way of life. It’ll set you free.