10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! (NIV)
One of the hardest decisions Abbi and I ever faced as a married couple came while we were in seminary. We were feeling the weight of seminary loans and debt and knew that we were tight financially. Things had to be cut in order to make ends meet. Sadly, one of the things that had to be cut, for a time, was our tithe. Even though we weren’t able to give much we had to pull back for a time to help offset other things.
It was a difficult and painful decision, and one we didn’t want to make. However, we lived with that decision for a few months while trying to gain a more secure financial footing.
In time, we decided to start tithing again. Initially it was only a few dollars, but eventually we were able to give more. We noticed something in this. God knew our desire to be more generous and provided a way forward to help us to be a blessing to our church and others.
Paul writes about this in our passage from 2 Corinthians 9:10-15. He says that the one who supplies our every need, God, will be the one who supplies the way for us to be generous towards others, whether it is our church, our families, or even a person we have never met. When we place our trust in God, things begin to happen where we have opportunities to be more generous in ways we never could have imagined.
Trusting God is the key to generosity and giving. Without this trust it is impossible to be truly given over to giving to the church and to our communities. This trust is about believing the promise that God will supply our every need and give us a way to be a blessing to others.
What would it be like to trust God today? How might we be more willing to trust that God will provide a way to being more generous? What would that mean for our lives? Our church? Our world?