2Corinthians 9:1-5 For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you: For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal has provoked very many. Yet have I sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; that, as I said, you may be ready: Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, you) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting. Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof you had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness.
‘I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many.’ Paul had been boasting of their giving, to the congregations of Macedonia, and of Greece which was ready to contribute a year ago (8:10). Their zeal for charity has provoked many to do their best in giving to the poor (those who had suffered financially because of the fierce persecutions amongst Christians).
‘I sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; that, as I said, you may be ready.’ Paul sent the brethren, lest their boasting is in vain, and so they may be ready with their gift when the time comes. Paul didn’t want the brethren from Macedonia to come with him and find the congregation of Jerusalem unprepared. In that case, Paul would be ashamed that he had boasted about them (9:4). Because of this, he thought it necessary to exhort the brethren that they would go before them and prepare their gift beforehand. They wanted this to be a matter of the fruit of blessings poured out from willing and beneficent hearts, not from a grudging and covetous spirit (9:5).
Covetousness breeds the following: Greed and murder (Prov. 1:19; Isa. 56:11; Jer. 22:17); poverty and rebellion (Prov. 11:24); oppression and violence (Prov. 22:16; Jer. 22:17; Mic. 2:2); denial of God (Prov. 30:8-9); injustice (Isa. 1:23; Mic. 7:3); backsliding (Mic. 3:11); deceptions (Matt. 13:22); defilement (Mark 7:21-23); temptations and lusts (1Tim. 6:9-11; 1Jn. 2:15-17); a short life and a fool’s end (Jer. 17:11; Luke 12:16-21). Examples of covetousness: Eve-forbidden fruit (Gen. 3:6); Lot-lands (Gen. 13:10-13); Jacob-birthright and his father’s blessing (Gen. 25:31; 27:6-29); Balaam-rewards (2Pet. 2:15); Achan-money (Josh. 7:21); David-woman (2Sam. 11:2-5); Ahab-vineyard (1Kin. 21:2-16); Gehazi-gifts (2Kin. 5:20-27); Rich fool-security (Luke 12:17); Judas-silver (Matt. 26:15-16); Pharisees-riches (Luke 16:14); Simon Magus-Holy Ghost power (Acts 8:18-23); Festus-money (Acts 24:26); Demas-pleasures (2Tim. 4:10).