Generosity that Outlives Tragedy
2 Corinthians 9:11
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.
Response to tragedy often brings out the best in humanity. The Apostle Paul spent many years raising funds from believers during his travels in order to assist Christians in Antioch who had suffered through a decade of famine and persecution. Writing specifically to the church in Corinth, Paul praised the believers for their faithfulness and generosity.
In our own time, popular Houston Texans’ player J.J. Watt spearheaded a fundraising campaign to assist those affected by the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. More than 200,000 contributors raised over $37 million in a matter of weeks.
But what happens when time inevitably passes and the images of destruction and devastation no longer dominate our screens? What is the limit of our generosity?
Many people are eager to donate towards an immediate one-time need, but are resistant to living an on-going lifestyle of generosity. Even Christians can be hesitant to let go of hard-earned cash. David Garland notes,
Most people subconsciously employ a kind of mental air defense system to deflect any appeals for money that their radar screen picks up as approaching their way.
Church-goers may cringe at the annual sermon on tithing or the church’s month-long budget campaign. Often, in an attempt to convince members to give, appeal is made to Paul’s note in 2 Corinthians 9 that those who sow generously will also reap generously.
So the more I give, the more I will get? Well, yes and no.
Take a closer look at what Paul describes as the return-on-investment that Christians receive when they give generously. You will reap a harvest of righteousness. By sowing generously, you will reap generosity.
The implication appears to be that the blessings received as a result of generous giving may be material, but are more likely spiritual. And if God does, in fact, supply the generous giver with an increase in material blessings, they are intended to be a resource for continued generosity.
The more you get, the more you give.
So cultivate a pattern of generous giving and living. If you’ve donated towards Hurricane Harvey or Irma relief efforts, the apostle Paul would commend you for your faithfulness and generosity. He would also then encourage you to find ways to continue to be generous. Become regular with your tithe, contribute towards a ministry organization, or support a missionary. Give generously so that others might experience the work of the Holy Spirit through you.