Small Business Saturday began in America in 2010 and in the United Kingdom in 2013. City officials noticed consumers were overlooking smaller shops and local businesses. On this day, customers are encouraged to purchase items from small local businesses instead of choosing the big box retailers or e-commerce stores. In order to have a growing and fair economy these small businesses are vital.
Our passage today does not speak about the value of small businesses, but it does speak about the importance of being known as generous people. While many use these verses to promote the “prosperity gospel,” Paul’s main idea here is for believers to sow generously with good intentions, despite one’s wealth. A person ought to give to the work of the Lord out of a cheerful heart (v. 7). Perhaps Paul realizes that some people give to get something in return: assets, possessions, or acclamation.
Paul acknowledges that what we give or “sow” returns to us in abundance. He is not saying that we will necessarily profit monetarily. Rather, Paul is saying that our generosity will “enlarge the harvest of your righteousness” (v. 10), giving this passage a decidedly eternal perspective.
In verse 11, Paul claims that the generosity the Corinthians showed him and his companions directly caused thanksgiving to God. He does not tell us specifically who is giving thanks to God, whether it is him, his companions, or the ones who are able to hear the message of the gospel because of Paul’s missionary work. God receives thanksgiving because of the Corinthians’ generosity. When you give with a cheerful heart, it opens the opportunity for others to thank God. Don’t miss an opportunity to sow a seed of generosity.
As we conclude this study, think of a way you can give and spur on thankfulness to God. Is there a small business in your community that is trying to shine God’s light in the marketplace? Is there an organization that is sharing the gospel with others? Perhaps you can generously bless them today, and others will thank God because of you!