As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, it is important that we cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Some feel that people in general are not as thankful as they should be. One grandmother lamented the fact that her grandchildren used to send her thank you notes in appreciation of the gifts she gave them, but now they only send her a thumbs up emoji!
Many people would agree that we could do a better job of showing our thanks to God for all of the many blessings that he showers upon us every day. One way we could do that is by cultivating a generous lifestyle. By sharing our material resources with those who are less fortunate, we give thanks to God for the blessings he so graciously gives us.
In 2 Corinthians, the apostle Paul urges the church at Corinth to be generous. He encourages them to give generously to a fundraising effort for the purpose of sending relief to poverty-stricken Christians in Jerusalem. 2 Cor.9:6-15 contains some teaching that will help us keep the “giving” in Thanksgiving.
This Scripture reminds us of the principle of the harvest. In order to reap a crop, you have to sow enough seed. A stingy farmer who foolishly skimps on seed cannot expect to reap an abundant harvest. In the same way, in order to reap an abundant harvest of righteousness, we have to be willing to share our finances with believers who are in need.
This passage goes on to tell us that it is our choice whether to be generous or not. I am reminded of a story about a church that desperately needed to repair their church building. They called a special all-members meeting to discuss the situation. During the course of the meeting, a well-to-do member of the church stood up and declared, “I pledge to give $100 toward the repairs to our church building.” As soon as the man sat down, a huge piece of plaster fell from the ceiling and crashed down on his head! The man promptly stood up again and said, “I am changing my offering from $100 to $500!” In response to that, a voice from the back cried out, “Hit him again, Lord! Hit him again!”
The Lord shouldn’t have to hit us over the head in order to make us give to his kingdom. We should be self-motivated by a desire in our heart to give. Our giving should not be done reluctantly or out of compulsion, because God loves a cheerful giver. It is up to us to develop a generous heart that has the desire to give.
Reading further, we are reminded that God is able to bless us so that we can give in abundance and still have our needs taken care of. He will supply the seed that we need to sow enough to have a large harvest of righteousness. V.11 says, “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.” Our generous giving not only shows our thankfulness, it inspires the recipients of our giving to be thankful to God for taking care of their needs. V. 12 continues on this theme—“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.” We should think of our giving as a way of priming the pump to cause thanksgiving to God to overflow in the hearts of his people.
The next verse says that this fundraising project was a way of proving themselves, and that it had to do with their obedience to God that goes along with our response to the gospel message. We have to ask ourselves if our willingness to be generous passes the test. Does our obedience to God show up in our giving?
The chapter concludes with one of the greatest verses in the Bible on the subject of giving, v.15—“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” The sacrifice of his only son Jesus on the cross to provide forgiveness for all mankind shows us that God is the ultimate Giver! His children should reflect the Father’s loving mercy that is seen in his willingness to give such a great sacrifice. Let’s do all we can to keep the “giving” in Thanksgiving!