Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sunday Recap: "Sowing and Reaping"

This past week our reading in 2 Corinthians brought us to Paul's teaching about financial giving in 2 Corinthians 8 and 9. Paul is encouraging the Corinthians to give generously to a collection for the Christians in Jerusalem, who had fallen on hard times. Paul's appeal is rather audacious when you consider that his relationship with the Corinthians was already strained at best. Despite the issues between him and them, he makes bold to go where many preachers fear to tread.

On Sunday we looked at three simple but power-packed verses from chapter 9. While these verses are specifically about financial giving, I made the point that the principles found in these verses apply to every area of life:

1. The Principle of Sowing and Reaping

"Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously" (2 Cor. 9:6). 

Paul is using an illustration from farming. He's saying that if you go out to plant seed and you hold back and only plant a little, then you'll only receive a little back when harvest time comes. But if you go ahead and plant  plenty of seed, you'll get a bigger crop later.

This illustration meant more in Paul's day, since the seed a farmer planted was also the grain that his family ate. Planting seed was an act of faith--that what you give up through planting you will receive back later through harvest.

Paul says it's the same way with financial giving. The blessings you receive in turn--not only financial blessings, but blessings like joy, fulfillment, spiritual growth--are in proportion to what you choose to give.

And it's the same way with other areas of life. What you get out of a relationship will be in proportion to what you put into it. What you experience in terms of physical health will reflect what you "sow" into your body--whether you sow proper nutrition and exercise or junk food and couch surfing. And so on.

2. The Principle of Cheerful Giving

"Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9:7). 

Whatever you decide to sow--whether it's financial giving, or sowing acts of love into a relationship, or sowing service and commitment into your church--do it cheerfully. Cheerfulness is the fertilizer that makes the seed grow.

3. The Principle of the Overflowing Cup

"And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work" (2 Cor. 9:8). 

Why does God bless us? So that we can be a blessing to others. We are "blessed to be a blessing."  When God pours blessings into our lives, the goal is not that we would keep those blessings for ourselves in bigger and bigger cups. The goal is that we would let our cups overflow; let the blessings flow out and bless others. And here's the beautiful thing: a cup that is overflowing is also a cup that is always full.

1 comment:

  1. We have been blessed by following these principles as a couple but even better I started giving as a teenager...God is good