“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. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of… the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others… because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:6-15
I used to grow mint, relishing the summery fresh fragrance and the zing it adds as a flavor enhancer or garnish. Once planted, it is hard to get rid of- it roots and spreads like miniature kudzu, popping up its lush green leaves that give a delightful scent to any swath of ground, but also dominate its limitless domain. I want my giving to be prolific like mint, to have an impact of refreshment and ‘life’ and overflow in thanksgiving and praise to God, from whom all blessings flow.
We recently spent time in a special place where a fledgling ministry started decades ago with the vision of one man, then the passion of several, then the investment of prayer, time, hard work, and material gifts of many. Generations of students have now been challenged, discipled, forever changed by God’s work there, and have gone on to professions and communities to keep on giving. This Christian Study Center concept is now replicated throughout the country. Generous sowing has brought bountiful reaping in relationships and vocations, priorities and families, and continues to multiply to the building up of God’s people and the praise of His glory over years and throughout the world.
When individuals, called to make a difference and willing to obey that call, begin giving, God lavishes His grace and sufficiency, He enriches and supplies, and the ‘pressed-down and shaken’ offering becomes supernatural means for blessing and gratitude. The God of wondrous math is He Who is recognized in the multiplication, and if our chief end is to glorify Him, why would we hold back?
How willingly, cheerfully, am I sowing seeds of truth, love, blessing to others? What inhibits generosity? Selfish desire to spend my time and resources my way? Fear of want in letting go? Am I guided by emotion, a yen for immediate self-satisfaction and temporal, worldly interests, or compelled to invest in what is eternal, what will make a lasting difference for others? How easily am I deterred by inconvenience? Where do I need Him to change ‘sparing’ into ‘bounty’ in me? (Matthew 6:19-20; 13:3-8)
Measureless, all-sufficient God, replace my penchant for self with adoration of Your infinite worth, and immediate generosity. May I, in deep thankfulness, cheerfully and widely open my hands for Your use and multiplication. As I offer treasures to make a difference, may Your praise ever be my goal and glory. (Exodus 22:29; Matthew 6:11-12)