Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – April 14, 2016
By Tripp Prince
You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 2 Corinthians 9:11
Of all the Biblical books, when I read Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, I feel as though he is writing to a culture that I recognize, a world that I know. It’s truly not claiming too much to say that 1 and 2 Corinthians are Paul’s most relevant letters to our contemporary culture. Corinth was a major center of commerce and trade. It was multiethnic, pluralistic, and technologically advanced. And it was very, very rich.
In our modern culture, we talk a lot about money. We spend our days earning it and our evenings dreaming about how to spend it. It is often the driving force behind our career paths and major life decisions. And we believe without questioning that the accumulation of wealth is directly linked to our happiness and joy.
Yet, what if this is an American value and not a Biblical value? Is it possible that we’ve too quickly accepted a cultural perspective on wealth and money without first stopping to see if it aligns with God’s will for our lives? As I read Paul’s words to the Corinthians, I sense that we, like the church in Corinth, might need to have our perspective reframed in light of the generous love of God shown in Jesus Christ.
Paul’s words begin with the phrase “you will be made rich in every way.” Those are words that our American ears like to hear! They are words that align with our culture and its values. Yet what comes next turns our cultural values upside down and is a shock to the system. “…so that you can be generous on every occasion.” In light of the self-giving love shown on the cross, Paul invites us to reorient our entire lives and worldview so that we too can give our entire lives as an offering of thanksgiving and praise to God. This may seem radical, but it is the way of Jesus that each disciple is invited to embrace.
“One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want” (Proverbs 11:24).
If God has given you riches and material wealth, it isn’t a sign that he loves you more than others or is especially pleased with you and your hard work. It instead means that he has given you a mission! You and I have the great blessing of receiving kingdom resources from the Lord that we can then share freely and joyfully with others who are in need. In God’s kingdom, happiness is found, not in how much we receive, but in how freely we are willing to give. Generosity is God’s way of freeing us from self-love and inviting us into a life of true freedom, happiness, and gratitude.
PrayerFather, just as you freely gave your son for us and our salvation, may we also freely give, remembering that everything we have comes from you as a gift.
ApplicationHow can you actively look for ways to bless others with what you’ve been given?
Related Reading1 Chr. 29:14; Ps. 112:9; Mt. 6:21; Rom. 12:8
Post/Tweet todayHappiness is found, not in how much we receive, but in how freely we are willing to give. #WisdomHunters #richingenerosity
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