Bible Study Lessons

  • Be Generous to Consume?

    Rebecca Van Noord

    Our culture encourages us to absorb the latest and greatest, and then cast off our gently used devices. We are targeted to accumulate and consume. The new feature we learned about yesterday is now the one we can’t live without. At first, 2 Corinthians 9 seems to appeal to our consumer lifestyle: “The one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Cor 9:6).

    This verse has often been used to encourage giving, because then, God will provide us with even more. But should we give more for the sake of consuming more? Should this be our motivation for generosity?

    Paul debunks this idea in the next verse: “Each one should give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or from compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:7). Certainly God will provide for those who give; He takes care of those who follow Him. But our willingness to give should not be out of compulsion, obligation, or giving in order to receive. Selfish giving produces selfishness, not the love and mercy God desires (Micah 6:8).

    God is incredibly generous. He gives us gifts—even sending His Son to die for us. As a result of His gracious love, we should also freely give. It reflects the thankfulness in our hearts: “being made rich in every way for all generosity” (2 Cor 9:11).

    God’s generosity doesn’t hinge on our giving. We should give out of love for Him, and not from expecting a return on our investment.

    What are your motives for giving?

    This article was originally published in Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan.