Generous giving, we have seen, is one way that we can fulfill the admonition of Ephesians 5:1 to be imitators of God. After all, the Lord is the most generous giver of all, sharing abundantly with His entire creation, especially believers. Thus, giving to support impoverished believers is an act of practical righteousness that shows forth our union with Christ by faith and allows us to be like the Lord, though in a creaturely manner (2 Cor. 9:8–9).
Knowing that God is a generous giver motivates giving in those who seek to be imitators of Him, but the truth of His abundant goodness has other practical ramifications as well. In truth, sometimes we fail to give because we fear that in giving we will suffer a net loss. Yet if the Lord Himself gives abundantly, we need not fear that we will suffer lack when we give to help others with wise generosity. That much is implied in 2 Corinthians 9:8–9, but it is made more explicit in today’s passage.
In verse 10, Paul alludes to Isaiah 55:10, reminding us of the ultimate source of the goods that we have to give. God gives “seed to the sower and bread to the eater,” as Isaiah notes, and the Apostle sees in this evidence that the Lord will multiply our seed and harvest as we are generous and give to others. If the Lord—who made all things out of nothing—could supply us in the first place, then He can certainly continue to supply us and even to supply us in far greater abundance. To put it another way, we cannot outgive the Lord, as Dr. R.C. Sproul observed, when we give to imitate Him and to take care of His people. Paul has the material needs of impoverished believers in mind most specifically in 2 Corinthians 8–9, but the principle certainly applies beyond that. Our giving to the work of the church and the care of its members will always result in a net gain for us.
Again, Paul is not preaching a prosperity gospel that says we will all receive vast material riches if we give money to the church and its work. His point is that we will be blessed far more than we can imagine when we seek to imitate the generosity of the Lord. This in turn will increase thanksgiving to God (v. 11). God supplies us so that we can help generously supply others, and this in turn produces greater thanksgiving to the Lord—from the givers, for being able to meet others’ needs, and from the receivers, for seeing their needs met. Gifts come from God in ever greater measure and thanks are returned to Him with more fervor, all to the praise of His glory.