Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written:
“He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. – 2 Corinthians 9:6-11 (NIV)
Unlike those who depend on the harvest for their livelihood, we get to give ours away. We don’t depend on storehouses where moth and rust destroy, but the storehouses of heaven. But it is too easy in our self-centered society, to keep things for ourselves. There has recently been much discontent among some in the United States about the inequity wealth. They feel that somehow they have been cheated or robbed, but at the core, they believe they should have what someone else has; they are greedy. They fall in the same trespass they judge others for and are oblivious to the irony.
This world would be a better place if we spent less time getting for ourselves and more time giving of ourselves. Our neighborhoods and families would be all the more blessed for our willingness to give to the needs of others. But the keys are laid out clearly in the passage above: it is a personal choice, done with confidence and without outside coercion. Giving should be a reaction to God’s goodness to us and our giving will increase with our understanding of His goodness.
Giving, generosity, charity – they are certainly attributes of the followers of Christ, but it isn’t just what we do, but why we do it and how we do it. We need to be motivated by the right reasons to do the righteous things. There needs to be purpose and will behind our giving; first God’s and then ours coming in line to partner in generosity to those in need. Too much is given to fulfill a sense of duty. Too much is done to meet perceived obligations. Too much is dedicated to avoiding guilt trips from those in authority. As followers of Christ we are beholden to no one but God for what we give, but that is a far more demanding position to be in.
So if we put our giving in the hands of God, where does our confidence lie? It lies in the promise that His storehouses never run out; that He will always provide all we need to do all He wants for everyone He loves. The real truth is that the seeds were never ours to keep. When we become selfish with the blessings God provides, we are thieves and robbers, stealing the blessings from others. Let us give because we have nothing to lose. Let us do for others because everything has already been accomplished for us through Christ. Let us be used by God to disperse His blessings.
Lord, help me to live a generous life in light of Your gracious blessings. May I be used by You to bless others. Give me eyes to see where it is You would have me give and keep me rooted in Your will. Amen.