Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all,2 Corinthians 9:13(NASB)
Although the Corinthian church started out with some severe criticism from Paul, concerning their carnal attitude and argumentative ways, we find at the close of his second letter, that Paul is able and willing to applaud their generosity and praise their Christian witness to their brothers and sisters in Christ.
In his first letter, Paul’s teaching was interspersed with chidings and correction, while at the close of this second epistle his teaching is sprinkled with commendation and congratulations for their charitable giving and their caring attitude towards the brethren in Jerusalem.
The believers there were undergoing certain hardships and the Corinthian Christians purposed in their heart to make a collection to help their predicament, and Paul took this opportunity to use their loving generosity towards the saints in Jerusalem as a teaching opportunity.
Earlier in his message to the Church, Paul had reminded them of the incredible grace that God has extended to all His children, for although Christ was rich beyond compare, He set aside His heavenly privileges and His exalted position and became poor, so that through His poverty, we might all become rich.
He discussed the universal principle of sowing and reaping and explained that this is equally applicable with spiritual sowing and reaping as it is in the natural. Those who are miserly, both in the spiritual sphere and physical realm will have a meagre return, while those with a generous, Christlike spirit will receive a bountiful crop.
Proverbs warns against eating the bread of selfishness. Rather, we are encouraged to be generous with our resources, and Paul reminds these dear people, that God loves a cheerful giver – encouraging them and us, to do exactly what we purpose to do in our own heart to help others - not grudgingly or under compulsion and not flamboyantly or for show - like the Pharisees. Our attitude should reflect that of our gracious and loving Lord.
The thoughtfulness and benevolence of the Corinthian congregation is applauded by Paul. He rejoiced to know that in recognising and responding to the material needs of their brothers and sisters in Jerusalem; they were demonstrating obedience to Christ, and their actions and attitude would glorify the Father in heaven.
Paul rejoiced because their service in giving gladly to the saints in Jerusalem, was a proof of their love for the Lord Jesus and demonstrated caring, godly concern for one another – and through it the Lord was honoured.
May we develop a Christlike concern for the needs of others and be ready and willing to provide for the necessities of life of those who are facing hardships. May we also be wise in our giving, knowing that our gifts not only supply the needs of the saints but is also a ministry that glorified God.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the example of the saints in Corinth, who lovingly provided for the material needs of their brothers and sisters, who were undergoing some serious hardships in their Christian life. I pray that I may be ready and willing to help recognise and respond to the needs and necessities of my Christian brothers and sisters. Develop in me a generous heart and caring concern for others and may Christ be seen in me and glorified through me - this I ask in Jesus name, AMEN.