Giving Generously

“I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given.  Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” 


II Cor 9:5-7

In II Corinthians 9:5-6, the Apostle Paul is telling the Corinthian believers that he was sending a ministry team to their church to pick up a financial gift that they had promised so that the work of the Lord in that region could continue on.   But Paul had a concern—that their attitude towards the gift may have run afoul.  They were having reservations about the gift.


The word the ESV uses in vs. 5 is grudgingly.   The KJV translates it as covetously or greedily.  The idea here is to give the gift with a foul attitude that looks enviously at those who are receiving and administering the gif.  This is the opposite of giving with an eye upon the Lord that is filled with faith and thanks giving.


And so Paul reminds them in vs. 6 of a basic principle.  If we sow generously we will reap generously, if we sow sparingly we will reap sparingly.  The proverb was a familiar one to a culture of farmers, who represented the majority of those in the known world at that time.


A farmer who is focused on the amount of seed that is planted, rather than the crop that it will return, will have a tendency to limit the amount of seed planted, not seeing by faith what the seed will produce.  This is also a principle of investing.  A person who is focused on the money being invested rather than the return that investment could one day bring, will tend to invest less since there they will only be looking at the present loss and risk attached to it.    


That is the ministry also is.  The more focused we are on the money going out, rather than the blessings it can produce, the more limited our giving will be, and the more limited our giving will be the less blessings in ministry we will see.  So the first question we need to ask ourselves is “are we reaping generously or sowing sparingly?”   


When we give to the Lord, our focus should not be on the gift, but on what the gift will produce for God’s kingdom.  When I do that, I will be “storing up treasures” for myself in heaven, where moth and rust will not destroy.   And if I cultivate that attitude, then as II Cor 9:7 teaches us, we will give with joy for “God loves a cheerful giver.”