Full Service Sermon Video Sermon Audio Scripture Verses 2 Corinthians 9:1-15 Worship Playlist Yet Not I but Through Christ In Me by Shane & ShaneWay Maker by PassionForever Reign by Hillsong Study Questions Why does giving reveal so much about our relationship to God?How does generous giving back up your confession of Christ? How does it affect other believers? How does it change who you are? Downloads & Resources Sermon Video Download Sermon Audio Download The Heart of Generosity Brad Owen - 7/11/2021 Today we continue to study our way through the book of 2 Corinthians and we are going to look at chapter nine as we explore the mystery and blessing of God’s economy and as we try to better understand what it means to have a heart of generosity. As we get into chapter nine we are going to discuss two contrasting postures of the heart and the beliefs, attitudes, and actions related to resources. Resources being our finances, our time, our gifts, our energy. In this chapter Paul is primarily referring to our finances and belongings. I do believe however that the two heart postures that we are going to discuss are revealed in ways far beyond our finances and possessions.One posture is that of scarcity. What is scarcity? Where have we seen or experienced this posture or attitude? Scarcity is defined as the state of being scarce or in short supply; shortage. Hmmm. If only I could think of an example of something we all recently experienced that would illustrate what scarcity is… (while holding up a roll of TP, a mask, and sanitizer). A heart posture of scarcity is guarded, possessive, inward looking and selfish, fearful, and stingy.The second posture is that of generosity. This posture can be defined by having a perspective of plenty or bounty and is accompanied by joy and a generous spirit.If you have your Bible and are not already there Turn with me to 2 Corinthians 9. "Now concerning the ministry to the saints, it is unnecessary for me to write to you. 2 For I know your eagerness, and I boast about you to the Macedonians, 'Achaia has been ready since last year,' and your zeal has stirred up most of them. 3 But I am sending the brothers so that our boasting about you in this matter would not prove empty, and so that you would be ready just as I said. 4 Otherwise, if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we, not to mention you, would be put to shame in that situation. 5 Therefore I considered it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance the generous gift you promised, so that it will be ready as a gift and not as an extortion.Paul seems to be reengaging a familiar topic with the church in Corinth. This is essentially notification that the time has come for them to follow through on their enthusiasm to give generously to support the poor in Jerusalem. Paul is saying, “Yes, I have sent these brothers ahead to ensure you are prepared.” Paul seems to want to make it clear that their giving is due to their desire to be generous, and not from pressure from Paul himself. Let's first read through the rest of the chapter, and then we will go back through and break it down. "6 The point is this: The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each person should do as he has decided in his heart—not reluctantly or out of compulsion, since God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work. 9 As it is written: He distributed freely; he gave to the poor; his righteousness endures forever. 10 Now the one who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will also provide and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way for all generosity, which produces thanksgiving to God through us. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the proof provided by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedient confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone. 14 And as they pray on your behalf, they will have deep affection for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!"Let's look back at verse six. "The point is this: The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously." This verse lays out the two postures toward giving-- Sparingly (Scarcity) and Generous. On one hand, this seems like common sense, right? If I plant one tomato plant in my garden I will reap far fewer tomatoes than if I were to plant ten tomato plants in my garden. Paul isn’t just talking about a physical crop, but is contrasting the willingness of the heart to be generous and charitable.Now as we look at verse seven we see Paul give the only directive in this chapter. "Each person should give as he has decided in his heart-not reluctantly or out of compulsion, since God loves a cheerful giver." Paul is saying that their gift should be given out of the overflow of a generous heart, not out of obligation. Joyfully and cheerfully give what you have already decided in your heart to give.While verse seven is used for instruction, or as a directive, Paul uses the remaining verses to help the reader understand how they can give cheerfully. Picking up with verse eight, "8 God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work." What does God do? God provides what is needed and enables the giver to give cheerfully. It is not by our own power that we have means to give, but it is made possible by God. God provides the needed grace. God supplies the resources needed for the good work. All that the giver will need is covered by God. He will cause an overflow providing for everything you need to continue in doing every good work.Let me say that again. God provides everything that is needed and enables the giver to give cheerfully. God provides the needed grace. God supplies the resources needed for the good work. All that the giver will need is covered by God. He will cause an overflow providing for everything you need to continue in doing every good work. The other thing we see in verses seven and eight is that the condition of the heart matters. Because God loves a cheerful giver he provides all these things for the work so that we can be cheerful.Paul continues verse nine with a quote from Psalm 112:9, "He distributed freely; He gave to the poor; his righteousness endures forever." As you first read that, it may seem like the scripture is referring to God, but it is referring to man. When I view resources as mine…belonging to me, I’m far more guarded of those resources. It doesn’t matter if that resource is a box of French fries, or a brand new car. But if that box of fries is yours I am far more likely to share them with someone else. (Just ask my wife and kids)When we give freely, when we are open handed, when we give to the poor we can do so with joy and cheerfully because our righteousness endures forever. We are storing up treasures in heaven. We may not see a return on that investment from a worldly perspective, but God is using that generosity to bless the one who receives the gift as well as storing up heavenly treasure for the one who gives.Consider this. God, who provides everything that we need to do kingdom work, He himself gave up everything for us already. God gave His son Jesus to be a the perfect sacrifice in our place. He didn’t have to do that for us. He lovingly and freely did that for us. He did so knowing that not all will accept that gift. He did so knowing that not all would show that same type of grace and generosity toward others. Yet He did it anyway because He loves us. The next part, verse ten, is a reference to Isaiah 55:10 and is talking about God. "Now the one who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will also provide and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness." When we understand that God does all of this work for us, we can give and sow cheerfully knowing there is a harvest of great blessing…our righteousness.Listen to what God will do and what our response should be in verses 11-12. "11 You will be enriched in every way for all generosity, which produces thanksgiving to God through us. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God." God will enrich you in everyway to be generous…He provides seeds to sow; sufficiency for good deeds; enrichment for generosity. God does all of that leading us to overflow with thanks to God.So we could make a list or underline in our scriptures what God does. What God Does Makes Every Grace abound to you Provides seed to the sower Provides bread for food Provides and multiplies your seed Enriches you in everyway And what is the result after God does all of that? You can circle the results of what God does. The Results We can give cheerfully and with joy Overflow in good work Use what God supplies (bread, seed, enrichment) to increase the harvest to be generous. God pours out…gives freely…causes an overflow in our lives. So that….We can give and give cheerfully. Generously. Filled with Joy.When we have a scarcity view of our resources we tend to ration them and guard them. We utilize them in just a few areas. When we have this view, we are limited to only the resources that we are able to generate with our own effort. The heart posture of scarcity is understandable. We all know the feeling associated with potentially not having enough. We all know there we are limited, finite, and only capable of producing a certain amount of resource even when giving our best human effort. (Illustration pouring out beans into other containers) And we know how quickly those resources can run out.Fortunately having this understanding helps us better appreciate God’s provision for the works of generosity that He calls us to. When we have an understanding of God’s economy and His desire to overflow his provision on our lives we have joy and freedom knowing that He provides for every good work. ( Illustration pouring out beans into other containers and then refill it to overflowing.) We can’t comprehend fully God’s economy. Frankly until you begin to see God work in this way in your life it can be difficult to believe that He works in this way.If we are to believe Paul’s words here in this chapter, then we can begin to shift our posture from one of scarcity to one of generosity. In order to bring himself glory, God overflows blessing on us when we are faithful in doing the good work that He calls us to. (Refill container to overflowing). It is at this point of submission to God as we give freely and generously that God pours out more for us. We become a pass through…a conduit…The constant inflow from God is His glory and our joy. It is His glory, because it couldn’t possibly be from within ourselves. And it is our joy to become a conduit of blessing that is poured out into the lives of those around us. God’s economy in our lives works entirely on God’s strength and God’s supply. God uses the generosity of his people to impact lives as part of the good work.As a college student I had an opportunity to travel to Haiti for the first time. I don’t recall exactly what the cost of the trip was at that time, but it was a lot for me. A couple named Harvey and Maurine Collett were used by God to bless me in a profound and unexpected way. They chose to bless me by paying the entire cost of my trip. The overflow from God’s blessing in their lives taught me a valuable lesson about generosity among many other things during that powerful week in Haiti.I am confident that most of us know people like this. We have witnessed this type of blessing where God’s glory meets their joy as generosity is freely given. If you have been around Lakeside for a while, then I know you have experienced others living this type of generous life. Supporting youth events and camps. Giving to missionaries and providing for mission trips. Leading mission trips. Organizing food drives for the hungry in our community. Raising money for local ministries that serve the homeless. Offering their homes and vehicles for retreats and other gospel centered activities. Lakeside is filled with living examples of what it looks like to practice selfless generosity for the good work of the gospel of Jesus. Are you robbing yourself of joy by denying God the opportunity to use you to bless those that He has placed in your life? Where does God want to grow your faith? Where does God want to grow your dependance on Him? Where does God want to use you to be a blessing as you give freely and He pours out more on you? Where do you need to be faithful to take the next step in growing in generosity? For some of us this may be the first time we’ve realized we have a posture of scarcity. We might consider asking God to bring to mind a small way to grow our faith. It might simply be to give, or to give with consistency. God worked through the church in Corinth to pour out His provision for the church in Jerusalem. Paul describes them as eager to give. What could be accomplished for God’s glory and our joy if we were to foster this type of eager generosity?For some of us we may need the reminder to be looking for ways to allow God to grow our generosity…to stretch our faith by giving more deeply so that God might pour out His blessing even more in our lives. Let's not let another day pass without taking a sober assessment of what our posture is toward the resources that God has blessed us with. Let's not let another day pass without taking the next step deeper into God’s blessings flowing through us to bless the world around us so that we might have hearts of generosity revealing God’s glory, and bringing us great joy.