“September 18–24. 2 Corinthians 8–13: ‘God Loveth a Cheerful Giver,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: New Testament 2023 (2022)
“September 18–24. 2 Corinthians 8–13,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2023
Record Your Impressions
What would you do if you heard that a congregation of Saints in another area was struggling in poverty? This was the situation that Paul described to the Corinthian Saints in 2 Corinthians 8–9. He hoped to persuade the Corinthian Saints to donate some of their abundance to Saints in need. But beyond a request for donations, Paul’s words also contain profound truths about giving: “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). In our day, there are still Saints throughout the world who are in need of help. Sometimes the most we can do for them is to fast and donate fast offerings. In other cases, our giving can be more direct and personal. Whatever forms our sacrifices take, it’s worth examining our motivations for giving. Are our sacrifices expressions of love? After all, it’s love that makes a giver cheerful.
There are so many people in need all over the world. How can we possibly make a difference? Elder Jeffrey R. Holland offered this counsel: “Rich or poor, we are to ‘do what we can’ when others are in need [see Mark 14:6, 8]. … [God] will help you and guide you in compassionate acts of discipleship if you are conscientiously wanting and praying and looking for ways to keep a commandment He has given us again and again” (“Are We Not All Beggars?,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2014, 41).
Read 2 Corinthians 8:1–15; 9:6–15, making note of principles Paul taught about caring for the poor and needy. What inspires you about Paul’s counsel? You might pray for guidance about what you can do to bless someone in need. Be sure to record any impressions you receive and act on them.
See also Mosiah 4:16–27; Alma 34:27–29; Russell M. Nelson, “The Second Great Commandment,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2019, 96–100; Henry B. Eyring, “Is Not This the Fast That I Have Chosen?,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2015, 22–25.
Today, as in Paul’s day, there are those who seek to lead us away “from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3). For that reason, it’s crucial to do what Paul suggested: “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5). You could start this process by thinking about what it means to “be in the faith.” How do you know if you are in the faith? Look for opportunities you have to examine yourself.
As part of your examination, you might also ponder the phrase “the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3). How have you found simplicity in Christ and His gospel? How might your mind “be corrupted from [that] simplicity”? What helpful counsel do you find in 2 Corinthians 11:1–6, 13–15?
Consider also this counsel from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf: “If you ever think that the gospel isn’t working so well for you, I invite you to step back, look at your life from a higher plane, and simplify your approach to discipleship. Focus on the basic doctrines, principles, and applications of the gospel. I promise that God will guide and bless you on your path to a fulfilling life, and the gospel will definitely work better for you” (“It Works Wonderfully!,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2015, 22).
We don’t know what Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” was, but we all have our own thorns that we wish God would remove from our lives. Think about your thorns as you read 2 Corinthians 12:5–10, and ponder what you learn about Jesus Christ in these verses. What did Paul teach in these verses about trials and weakness? What does it mean to you that God’s “grace is sufficient” for you?
2 Corinthians 8–9.What do we find in these chapters that inspires us to reach out to the poor and others in need? This might be a good time to plan an act of service as a family for someone in need.
2 Corinthians 9:6–7.Does your family know someone who could be described as “a cheerful giver”? How can we make our service to others more cheerful? Younger family members could make badges that say “I am a cheerful giver.” You could award the badges to family members whenever you see them serving one another cheerfully.
2 Corinthians 10:3–7.How could you teach your family about our “warfare” against wickedness? Would your family enjoy building a wall or a fort with chairs and blankets? This could lead to a discussion about how to cast down things that lead us away from God and how to “[bring] into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” What are the spiritual “weapons” we use to control our thoughts? (see Ephesians 6:11–18).
2 Corinthians 11:3.What can your family do to focus more on “the simplicity that is in Christ”?
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.
Suggested song: “‘Give,’ Said the Little Stream,” Children’s Songbook, 236.