Devotion: 2 Corinthians 9:9-11
As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.” Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 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.
I work in the software industry, in particular with startups, and am often surrounded by people who frequently talk about sales, how to build a business from scratch, and how to sell.
10-20 years ago, the conversation was dominated by tools you could use to reach more people. Get a tool to manage your contacts! Automate everything! Send everyone an email talking about how great you are! Get your name out there! Some of these concepts do work, at least for a while until people are sick of you and you get canceled.
More recently, there’s been a push to return sales to a place of providing value and being generous. Got a product? Give away as much of it as possible and help people. Got information? Generously share a lot of it with others. Other people are in the industry too? Give them a hand with their businesses. The more generous you are, the easier sales should be, and the less scummy you’ll feel too. I think this is both intuitive and counterintuitive: we all agree that it should work and it makes sense, right? People want to be around others who are generous, not selfish and sleazy. We take that for granted. But when our own generosity is put to the test, we don’t believe it will work, and we fall back to a scarcity mindset. If I give away everything, won’t I have nothing?
I believe God’s set up humanity, society, and the economy to function best when they’re based on generosity, and although Paul’s not trying to share universal wealth strategies with the Corinthians here, he is pointing to how some of these exchanges happen. God wants us to be generous, and the more we prove ourselves as stewards, the more he will entrust us with, so we can continue to be more and more generous. God even asks us to test him on this: “Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” (Malachi 3:10)
This is pretty crazy, right? It’s almost formulaic. Be generous, give freely, be benevolent, and God’s going to give you more so you can do more.