And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.  As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”  He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.  You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.
2 Corinthians 9:8-11
What happens if I sow bountifully (vs 6)? Will I be able to pay my bills and look after my family? What happens if there is another offering and this one seems to be towards providing for greater need that the one I have just given too? What about if I have given and then I lose my job? What about if I lose my job and can’t give to the church, will the pastor lose his job? There are so many questions that hit us when we give.
Paul does address this fear in verse 6, “whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” Most people believe the opposite: If you want more, give less. Paul says, if you want more, give more. But how can this be? This is what our passage is about.
Clearly, God promises to supply abundantly to those who give generously. Paul wants the Corinthians to be free from the fear that generous giving will leave them impoverished or struggling. His language is full of faith and trust in God. “God is able to make all grace abound to you” . . . God “will supply and multiply your seed” . . . and “you will be enriched in every way”.
So, does that mean the Prosperity Gospel is right after all? I think not.
One must never claim a promise without noting its purpose. In other words, we must ask the question, to what end or for what purpose or with what goal in mind does God cause the generous Christian to abound? Why does God promise abundance to those who cheerfully and freely give to others? Paul is very confident. He says it three times, so that they and us might see it, get it, understand it and live by it.
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” (vs 8).
“He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness” (vs 10).
“You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God” (vs 11).
Look again at the use of language in verse 8 “God is able” “all Grace abound in you” “all sufficiency” “you may abound”
This is breath taking language, not unlike what he wrote to the Philippians
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favour and honour. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11
Once again, this is not a guarantee that our circumstances will improve or that we will be insulated against suffering and hardship. Don’t forget his earlier description of the Macedonians who were recipients of this marvellous and over the top grace and yet were not spared from “a severe test of affliction” nor delivered from “extreme poverty” (2 Corinthians 8:2).
Rather, God’s promise is that he will never stir your heart to give and then fail to supply you with the resources to do so. But the idea that we should give so that God will give to us personally with a view to increasing our comfort and convenience and purchasing power is foreign to Paul’s teaching. Personal wealth is here viewed, not as an end in itself, but as a means to a yet higher goal, continued generosity to those in need.
Because you have money does mean you have to live according to that money, you can chose to be generous. John Piper said this. “God has made us to be conduits of his grace [not cul-de-sacs]. The danger is in thinking the conduit should be lined with gold. It shouldn’t. Copper will do.”
The principle at work in this scenario is that if you give generously now you will discover that God not only sustains your desire to give but will greatly increase your resources for yet more joyful and even more giving in the future. We are giving not to accumulate, and when God blesses us, it is not in order to build bigger barns but to bless more abundantly.
Paul quotes Psalm 112 in verse 9.
He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever; his horn is exalted in honour. Psalm 112:9
We might be tempted to think that this refers to God’s righteousness as expressed in his gracious and generous activity of supplying us with adequate resources to continue in faithful support of those in need. But a closer look at the whole of Psalm 112 clearly indicates that the “he” who has distributed freely, the “he” who has given to the poor, the one whose “righteousness endures forever” is in fact the Christian. Paul has us in mind!
This is a strong encouragement from Paul! When we believe in God’s provision and trust his promise “to make all grace abound” to us so that we will have an abundance, in turn, to “abound in every good work” (vs 8), our righteous acts of charity will endure forever. When we trust the truth that we “will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way” (vs 11), our generosity is regarded as a righteousness that will never fade nor lose its value in the sight of God.