In these two chapters, Paul discusses two important issues that are addressed to Christians who want to serve God. It is evident that these couple of chapters share this theme as yesterday’s message was about godly and worldly sorrow and supporting the church financially.
We are reminded that God is the ultimate provider and we beyond asking for and accepting blessings, we are to bless others. He uses an agricultural analogy in verse 11:
This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God. — 2 Corinthians 9:11
I find this analogy rich and inspiring as it manages to, in so few words, convey many ideas. We are presented with the love and amazing power that God has as He is able to give something as small as a seed which will yield crops and ultimately food to the farmer.
The analogy also illustrates how Christians should respond to God to reap the most from His blessings and gifts to us. We need to have patience and faith — as the farmer did in planting the seed — in order to reap the benefits. God wants us to obey and work hard so that we can flourish and delight in Him.
Thirdly, whatever God gives to us, He wants us to use to bless others. This is love: it can be the gospel (i.e. Salvation), our testimonies, our talents, services or even material goods. When we are given gifts, God does not want us to only stay in our own world and only focus on relationship their own relationship with God. Instead, we should take these things and give it to the people around us so that God can touch the hearts of more people, especially non-believers or new believers. Again, as living testimonies of Jesus Christ, we want to learn from Him and be a source of light in modern day society.
Chapter 10 deals with something similar to the concept of worldly and godly sorrow. It follows chapter 9 extremely well as it reminds us that when we bless others and have glory, it is the glory of God and all the goodness we give is from Him. This is crucial as we must remember our identities as sinners and followers of God, meaning we should not claim the glory of God and should only ever boast in Him.
We’re not, understand, putting ourselves in a league with those who boast that they’re our superiors. We wouldn’t dare do that. But in all this comparing and grading and competing, they quite miss the point. — 2 Corinthians 10:12
This verse shows the common and dangerous pitfall in Christian life of comparison. As soon as we compare our own abilities, actions and accomplishments our actions and thoughts will become self-motivated. We should be graceful for the gifts that God has given us and we should focus on maximising these gifts to benefit others and the kingdom of God. Beyond learning to be selfless like God, we need to remember that our actions should not be done to raise our status or reputation. The danger of comparison undermines the blessings God gives to us and our service to Him and endangers the faith of others. Furthermore, putting ourselves in comparison with others leads us to the sins of greed, self-centredness and envy. Hence, we must put God and our love for God and his kingdom first. We as Christians must learn the lesson of humility, give glory only to God (where it belongs!) and honour God’s gifts for us.