Sowing, Reaping and the Richness of Christ
Remember this- a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully”. And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.” (2 Corinthians 9:6 NLT)
In this passage Paul is speaking to the church at Corinth and appealing to them to be generous, cheerful, prayerful givers. He pointed out the benefits and results of generous giving. Not only did this apply to the church at Corinth but also to us today.
Oral Roberts has called this “seed faith giving”, based on the principle and the promise from God that we reap what we sow. Giving back to God and reaping the benefits of generous giving is a matter of faith and believing His promises are true.
Everything we have is not really ours at all. Everything belongs to God. Our home, our car, our business even our family is a gift to us from God. He blesses by allowing us to use the things we need.
Paul reminds us if we give a little we get a little. But if we give generously and with a cheerful heart God in turn blesses us generously. His blessings and provisions are not only in our material needs but in peace of mind and heart. The richness of blessings of love and joy are direct gifts from God.
As Christians it is our reasonable duty to give 10% of our income to His work on earth. Just as our income provides for the needs of our homes, our income provides for the needs of the church.
In Old Testament times, in the book of Nehemiah, the people gave the first fruits of their income. They gave the first fruits of their crops. They brought wheat, wine, oil, flour and the first fruits of their crops. Today our first fruits are in the form of money. As Christians with hearts ready to serve we also give our time and service. We give our talents and our abilities. In turn, we receive God’s blessings.
Our motives for giving must be to freely and cheerfully give with no expectation of anything in return. If God never did anything else for me, He sent His only Son to die for my sins and that in and of itself would be enough to be forever a servant for Him. He saved me from hell, I owe Him everything.
I have been playing the piano since I was 8 years old. Music is a gift from God to me. The returning of it in service to God is in accord with being a Christian He has also blessed me with the ability to write and this too I do for Him. It is reasonable that we use the gifts He has so graciously given us to honor Him.
Everyone is given talents and abilities. When given back in service to God our talent will be blessed by Him. It is His promise to us. God never breaks a promise.
The Scriptures are clear in regards to giving. “Don’t be misled; remember that you can’t ignore God and get away with it; a man will always reap just the kind of crop he sows.” (Galatians 6:7 TLB).
Jesus Himself tells us, “For if you give, you will get! Your gift will return to you in full and overflowing measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use to give-large or small-will be used to measure what is given back to you.”(Luke 6:38 TLB)
If you want favor with both God and man, and reputation for good judgment and common sense, then trust the Lord completely; don’t ever trust yourself. In everything you do put God first and He will direct you and crown your efforts with success.
Honor the Lord by giving Him the first part of all your income and He will fill your barns with wheat and barley and overflow your wine vats with the finest wines. (Proverbs 3:5-10 TLB)
The message is clear-we harvest in proportion to our planting. In his message to the church at Corinth Paul offered them 3 guidelines for giving.
• First: He concluded giving as a private matter to be settled between each man and God. You can’t out give God and no one should give according to what someone else is giving. If you are giving for praise of men you are giving for the wrong reason.
• Second: Paul said we should pray and ponder our giving. We shouldn’t give on impulse except by the leading of the Holy Spirit. But mostly giving should be a deliberate decision.
• Third: Giving is to be a private, not a public decision. If you are looking for a pat on the back or a plaque on the wall, you are giving for the wrong reasons. Our desire to give should be to give the way God gave; because He loved the world He gave His only Son. Give out of a heart full of love.
By being a generous and cheerful giver not only do we benefit but others do as well. First and foremost the giver benefits materially and spiritually. When we give freely and cheerfully and God blesses us in return it shows us His faithfulness. Our faith grows as well. The recipient of the giving benefits and they see God’s love. God’s kingdom benefits and the church benefits. It is a winning situation all around.
It is God who provides the means for us to be generous. Jesus tells us, “Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:8 KJV) The principle of giving is awesome in realizing God’s abounding Grace His grace is more than enough for us. He is so full of love and grace towards us that not only does He replace the resources we spend in Christian service but He multiplies them to the extent that at all times and in all things He provides all we need.
These same principles of giving apply to businesses as well. 10% of any business should be charity. I have seen doctors drive $70,000 cars and live in million dollar houses turn away a sick person because they had no insurance. The promise of reaping what you sow takes on a terrifying connotation for these self centered people.
The idea is this, like Jesus said, the more we give, the more we get. We don’t just give so we can get though. We give out of a heart of love for God and for others. The more we are blessed, the more we can bless someone else. John Bunyan wrote, “A man there was and they called him mad; the more he gave, the more he had.”
Giving in such a heart felt way is a basic principle of the Christian life. We give because of what Christ did for us. People today just do not seem to be able to grasp the idea that God can and does multiply the generous giver’s material resources. If you don’t believe He does, try Him. Let Him prove it to you.
Because of the evil in the world, the devil and his great deceptions, appearances seem to counteract the message of God. It seems as though the rich, who are often stingy with their wealth, get richer and the poor, who are usually cheerful givers, seem to get poorer. But the richness we are blessed with comes in many forms. These are called the “sevenfold riches of God”
In the book of Isaiah Chapter 45:3 the Word of God tells us, “I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord.
In studying the Bible and searching for these riches we can find the secret places:
• Ephesians 3:8 teaches us that as Children of God we are blessed with “the unsearchable riches of Christ.
• Romans 2:4 tell us of “the riches of goodness”.
• Romans 9:23 reminds us of the “riches of wisdom and knowledge”.
• Romans 11:33 mentions the “richness of mercy”.
• Ephesians 1:18 tells us of the “riches of His glorious inheritance”.
• And four times in Scripture “the riches of glory” is mentioned.
*Taken in part from a devotional written by Joni Eareckson Tada 2008
Samuel Smiles in his book, Life and Labor is quoted as saying, “Sow a thought and you reap and act, sow an act and you reap a habit, sow a habit and you reap a character, sow a character and you reap a destiny.”
Generous giving from the heart endures forever. It is never forgotten by God. Being a kingdom giver is storing up eternal treasures. The effects of your generous giving will follow you from generation to generation. We can only imagine the benefits that are laid up eternally. By meeting the needs of God’s people we are in essence giving thanks to God for all He has done and all He will do.
The reason we give is to meet a need. But the ultimate goal is to honor God with our giving. Because we know that all things good and perfect come from Him. When needs are met God is praised, the cycle of life from the giver.
Be blessed and be a blessing. Sow a seed. Honor God
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