Hitchhiking on Tuesday’s post, let’s think a little more about the heart of giving. Particularly, let’s think about 2 Corinthians 9:6-11, in which the apostle continues his admonition.
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.
According to this passage, one result of grace-filled giving is that the life of the giver is enriched. The point, Paul says, is clear: “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” In other words, the bounty of one’s harvest corresponds directly to the scope of his sowing. This corresponds to the principle revealed in Proverbs 11:24-25, One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.
A man may enjoy all his grain by eating it himself, or he may sow some of it and reap a bountiful harvest. This truth should challenge each of us to ask, “Am I a hoarder or a sower?” But you say, “Doesn’t the Bible say I should be a saver?” Yes, but there is a difference between saving and hoarding. In the end, hoarding is self-destructive; hoarding hurts the one who is selfish, as Solomon taught us in Ecclesiastes 5:13, There is a grievous evil which I have seen under the sun: riches being hoarded by their owner to his hurt.
In Jesus’ story of the rich man who kept building larger barns to store all of his junk, it is the hoarder, the man whose faith is in his finances, and not in God, who ultimately suffers most. In the parable about the rich young man, found in Luke 12:20-21, “God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ “So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” Too often, the worship war over money is prevalent.
However, the apostle counters our false worship of material resources by admonishing us to be gracious givers. Going back to 2 Corinthians 9, we notice that gracious giving should be a priority of weekly worship gatherings. And it should be planned and cheerful (v. 7). And the one who gives generously and faithfully will be entrusted with additional spiritual responsibilities and riches (vv. 8-9), which will result in “the harvest of your righteousness.” In other words, giving out of the obedience of grace leads to spiritual growth. Stingy Christians are often immature Christians and they will remain that way as long as they attempt to serve two masters. But grace-filled givers are “enriched in everything” (v. 11). Most importantly, spiritual riches. Eternal riches.
So, as expected, Jesus was right. It really is more blessed to give than to receive. At the end of the day, we must come to the realization that we cannot out-give God. Considering the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, how does God want you to make adjustments to your giving habits?
This post is adapted from last Sunday’s sermon, The Joy of Gracious Giving, Part 1.