Do you work in order to receive? Do you work in order to give? When people see you (because whether you know it or not, people are watching you) are they seeing a giver or a taker? Do they see someone joyfully gives or reluctantly gives? Do they see someone who is a taker and looking to see what they can get for themselves? Do they see someone who lives life generously? Do they see someone who is stingy with what they have?
Well, what are we supposed to look like? How does God act? Shouldn’t we be mirroring that?
A few verses come to mind ask these questions…
- from 2 Corinthians 9:6 – Consider this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
- from 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.
- from James 1:5 – If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
- from Deuteronomy 15:10 – You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake.
- from Psalm 112:5 – It is well with the man who deals generously and lends; who conducts his affairs with justice.
- from 2 Corinthians 9:11 – You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.
- from Titus 3 – 4But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
So what can we take from this? Let’s not live self-centered lives! Let’s not be focusing getting or receiving, but rather let’s focus on being joyful givers and generous givers as we imitate our Lord and Savior who gave it all even to the point of death on the cross that you and I can be reconciled back to God! Let’s be Jesus with skin on to the people He brings into our lives so that they will be able to see the light of God and the love of Jesus in a real way!
Can God trust us with what He has already given us? Can He trust that what He puts into our hands will be used for His purposes? The tithe is already His, we are just giving back! Can we live in a way that He can trust and bless and other will be touched and praise God? As we see in 2 Corinthians: 12For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.
As a farmer out in the field, what happens if you only plant a few seeds? How about if you plant a lot of seeds? When it comes to harvest time, what do you see the difference being? So what do you think is better to sow generously or sparingly? How do you sow love in the lives of others? How do you sow compassion in the lives of others? How do you sow joy in the lives of others? How do you sow financially into the lives of those in need? How do you sow time into the lives of others? The principle is the same! If you sow sparingly, you will reap sparingly! If you sow generously, you will reap generously!
Today’s reading comes starts with this …
5So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the gift you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction.The Cheerful Giver6The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.–from 2 Corinthians 9
This aligns right into where my morning began. Today’s devotional (day 7 of 7) from God at Work, speaks to this message in the following way:
The Grace of Giving
True or false: Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
The answer: true, but don’t go looking for the verse in the Gospels. Tucked away near the end of the book of Acts, we learn from a first-hand witness that it was Jesus who coined that familiar phrase.
This important concept of generosity is woven throughout Scripture. Second Corinthians 9:6 says, “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” God flows grace to the generous heart.
Some people look at other’s lives and wonder, “Why don’t I have what they have?” They may speculate on all the horizontal reasons, but I can tell you why. The flow of God’s blessing into their own lives has been plugged up by their stinginess. They are not experiencing the grace of giving.
One of the most important decisions you make as a believer is to give your tithes and offerings to the Lord’s work. God knows what you give. Every time that offering plate comes down the aisle, He sees you take that huge step of faith, cheerfully giving what you can.
You may say, “How will I get by?” or “If I give to God, who’s gonna take care of me?”
I’ll tell you who—God will! Do you think you can out-give God? No. He may bless you financially, or in answered prayer, or in health and strength. But no one can out-give God. No one.
Prayer: Father all that I am is Yours, all that I have is Yours, all that I hope to be, God, it’s Yours and it’s nothing to me. Give to me that generosity. Help me to trust that You will provide all that I need as I give to You for Your work here on earth. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
–from God at Work from James MacDonald (Day 7)