Stewardship: God's Provision is Sufficient

Nov 04, 2011

by Ron Hickman

For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints
but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.
II Corinthians 9:12

I wish we all could capture the same content, meaning and substance in our lives in community that Paul does in his words in the passage of this stewardship season! Indeed, that is exactly what his inspired words promise us, as they did the Corinthians to whom he was writing — it’s a very remarkable promise.

Paul expresses so much with such an economy of words that extra care is required to comprehend the depth of his message.  A simple look at his key words — ministry, service, supply, needs, saints, overflowing, thanksgivings, God — is a word study in itself, each word packed with its own meaning. Then, they are leveraged in their context, amplifying the broader meaning of the passage. Our thanksgiving overflows to God as we serve and supply the needs of the saints, our brothers and sisters in Christ, all of which is our ministry as believers in community.

There is clearly the sense that the thanksgivings are from those receiving the gifts from the Corinthians. But there also seems to be a sense in which the emphasis is on our thanksgivings to God that arise out of doing and being church together, of giving gifts to others. God made us to "glorify (Him) and enjoy Him forever"!  Our thanksgivings are a significant way in which we worship Him.

There is at least a rough parallel to what Christ commissions us to do in Matthew 28:19 where we are told to "make disciples" when we "go," while we "go." When we give, when we serve, when we do ministry together, our thanksgivings overflow in praise to Him. They are unavoidable, inevitable, and unmistakable.

In the Great Commission, it is understood that we all will be going, and that there is something to do while we go: make disciples. In our passage today, it is understood that the Corinthians were doing a ministry of support for the church, and that there was something resulting while they did: thanksgivings overflowing, both from them doing it and from those who benefitted from their gifts.

So it is with us here at Second Presbyterian Church, a body of believers, mightily blessed, reaching out to a hurting world, nearby and afar, to do and be church for the sake of God’s Kingdom. Our God is an awesome God, a sovereign God, whose providence toward us comes with the assurance of His always sufficient provision.

His provision is truly amazing — not always easy, always challenging, but, most of all, always sufficient. Whatever our circumstances, we are all so very blessed.  What a joy it is, what a joy it has been, what a joy it will be, to watch and see what God will do. May we all experience the full measure of thanksgivings overflowing to Him as we participate in the ministry of His church here at Second.