2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV
2 Corinthians 9:6 ESV
Psalm 126:5 NKJV
Galatians 6:7-8 NKJV
I’ve always believed than giving goes way beyond our financial resources. I’m not saying to exclude financial resources, I’m saying we need to ask God what He wants or needs us to give.
In addition to that, I was taught from a young age that everything I have (and everything I am) belongs to God. I consider myself to be a steward of my earthly possessions.
I think that makes great sense because I came into this world with nothing and I will leave the same way.
Whatever God provides for me during the ‘in-between’ is a blessing.
The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 9:7, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
I really like how Paul wrote that. He was telling the new Christian believers in Corinth they should listen to their own heart and not let anyone coerce them into giving.
I wanted to know more about the phrase ‘not reluctantly’ so I looked it up. The word used in the original text was “lypes” which means without regret. The Greek word for compulsion is “anankes” which can be translated as constraint; digress. So, without being limited or restricted; the idea was ‘don’t digress’ from YOUR plan.
In other words:
Go with your gut.
Listen to your heart and stick with it.
Paul’s words made me feel like there was a reason Paul worded it that way. There had to be a reason Paul wanted the members of the congregation to not feel like they were giving as a matter of obligation. He wanted them to not have any second thoughts about what they gave.
Is seems like he wanted them to have a strong attitude of generosity when they gave instead of giving because they felt like they had to give.
Remember, Paul didn’t talk about how much they gave. He didn’t give them a number.
BUT in the preceding verse in 2 Corinthians 9:6, Paul said, “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully, will reap bountifully.”
Ahhh…the plot thickens!
The theme about reaping and sowing had been written in Psalm 126:5 where it says, “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”
It is believed that Psalm 126 was written after the exile of the Israelites as they returned to Jerusalem. While in exile, the Jews had shed tears, missing their homeland. However, they did not give up. Through their weeping they sought Yahweh God, which bore seeds that could be used for sowing. The Psalmist reminds those returning to Jerusalem, those who wept and prayed and wept and prayed that God would find a way to make it possible for them to return home that God heard their cries and was returning them to Jerusalem.
They had sown in tears. They would reap in joy.
Paul would have known well the story of the Israelites who were exiled and allowed to return to Jerusalem.
Paul knew Israel had sown their tears and their reward was the joy of returning home.
Paul also wrote about sowing and reaping to the church in Galatia. In Galatians 6:7-9 Paul wrote, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”
Voila’…there it is.
Paul knew reaping and sowing had been used throughout the Old Testament scriptures. It was a concept they would have understood. They understood planting and growing. *In the Old and the New Testaments the concept of reaping and sowing is used 66 times (https://Bible.knowing-Jesus.com/topics/Sowing-And-Reaping).
Paul was reminding them if they plant good seed and you care for it, they will reap a good harvest.
Paul didn’t need to guilt them into giving.
He simply needed to remind them when their giving is from a generous seed, the yield will be plenteous.
He also knew if their hearts were not inclined to give generously, no amount of guilt would replace sowing good seed.
And so, it is the same with us. We choose.
If we UN Give we will naturally not receive (reap) a harvest.
When we give (sow) generously of our time, talent, and resources, we will receive (reap) a generous reward.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Reap what you Sow
Consider what reaping and sowing of your time, talent, and resources looks like to you and make adjustments accordingly.
In God, Deborah