As Paul was on his missionary journey, he was also taking up a collection for the Christians in Jerusalem. People in churches throughout Asia Minor were giving towards an offering to that affect.
Paul sent a letter ahead of his arrival to Corinth to let them know to be praying about their involvement in this offering. His focus was that he did not want them to feel forced to give out of compulsion, rather he wanted them to have already prayed about what they were to give.
When he explained the ‘cheerful giver’ concept, he used these words. “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 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.” (2 Cor 9:7-8)
What impressed me with this statement is verse 8. He actually says that through God and His grace, we will have ALL sufficiency in ALL things at ALL times in EVERY good work. There is no room for error here. That is complete sufficiency. I don’t know about you but I don’t always feel THAT sufficient.
Then it hit me. The connect between this verse and the statement in Eph 2:10. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
You see, when Paul refers to the “good work” he is not talking about our own affairs, but instead he is referring to those tasks we do for Christ, that was prepared beforehand for us to do. This is the work of the ministry.
What Paul is saying here is that when we come to the table with reluctance or feeling compelled to do so, we are not truly and totally empowered to do the good works. But when we come to the table, full of heart, freely giving, then He will empower us so that we are sufficient in ALL that we do for His glory.
You want to have 100% sufficiency in personal goals and tasks, perhaps you can get there with enough self help and development. Perhaps you can make it with just the right training and preparation combined with a little luck and timing. But I wouldn’t bank on it. However, if you are doing His good work that He prepared beforehand… and you are a cheerful giver… of your time, talent and resources… then He will provide you with EVERYTHING you need to succeed in that mission.
God has called me to the good works of teaching and preaching His word. Helping people to know and grasp the fullness of the Gospel message so they may apply it in their lives. This is not only to help others to come to know Him, but more importantly, to help those who do know Him, to grow in their relationship and become disciples of His. If that is the good works for which He has called me, then as I am a cheerful giver of my resources, He will provide me with everything I need to accomplish that task.