The rewards for generous giving

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"Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously."

It's obvious isn't it?

Imagine a farmer who goes out to his field. In the back of his truck he's got bags of seed, the field is ploughed and the soil is fertile. And then he takes just a couple of seeds, carefully he puts just one in the ground. Then he walks a few paces, kneels down and puts one more in the ground!

When harvest time comes, that farmer's not going to have much work on his hands is he?!

Now imagine another farmer, who goes out to his filed. In the back of his truck he's got bags of seed, the field is ploughed, the soil is fertile, so he tears open the bags, and he throws seed everywhere, all over the field, until none of its left.

When harvest time comes, he's going to be a busy man.

It's obvious isn't it?
2 Corinthians 9v6…

"Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously."

The thing is 2 Corinthians 9v6 isn't about farming. Our passage this morning doesn't come from Farmer's Monthly magazine, it comes from a letter,  written by the Apostle Paul, to the church in the city of Corinth. 2 Corinthians 9v6 isn't about farming, it's about Christian giving.

Do you remember? About a year before Paul wrote this letter, the Corinthians Christians had promised that they would give money to help out the Christians who lived in Jerusalem who were experiencing a famine. Now, Paul was currently on his way to Corinth to collect the money that they had promised, so he sent this letter ahead of him, to make sure that what the Corinthians had promised was now ready for him.

That's what we've seen over the last few weeks.

And just before he leaves this subject of giving, Paul reminds them of one of the great principles of Christian giving, "Remember this," he says in v6…

"Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously."

The less you are willing to give, he says, the less good will come of it. But the more, proportionally, you are willing to give, the more good will come of it. The more generous you are, the greater the rewards will be. 

"Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously."

The more you hold onto and keep for yourself, the less you will have in the end, and the more you give away, the more you will end up having. Now, that doesn't seem quite so obvious, does it? 

"Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously."

Do you believe that?

Well, there's a simple test to see if you believe that or not, and it's in v7.

If you believe that, when it comes to giving…

"Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously."

…then you will be a cheerful giver. You'll be the kind of person who loves to give things away, and wishes that you could give more, more time, more money, more support, more friendship, more hospitality.

Paul says, when it comes to Christian giving…

"Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously."

And then he goes on to explain what he means. He tells them in vv 8-14 what the rewards for generous giving are, and the first it this.

You will have it all, vv 8-11
Look at vv 8-9…

"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 for ever."

If you give generously, Paul says, you will discover that in all things and at all times you will have all that you need. If you give your money to the poor, like the man described in Psalm 112, and quoted in v9. If you give your time to those who are struggling, and your support to those who are suffering. If you give your knowledge and expertise to those who are in need, and your friendship to the lonely.

If, in the words of v8, you "abound in every good work." Then God is able, and willing, "to make all grace abound to you." It seems counter-intuitive, doesn't it?

If you give and give and give of yourself, Paul says, you won't be empty, you'll find that your life is full, full of wonderful things.

Just think about that farmer again, standing in his field. If he says to himself, "I've got all this seed "But if I spread it out all over the field, I'll have nothing left for myself. So I won't spread it out, I'll keep it." That would be ludicrous, wouldn't it?! When harvest comes, what will he have? What will he eat? What will he enjoy?

Instead what he should say to himself is, "I've got all this seed, so I need to give it away. It's no good keeping it all for myself. I will sow it everywhere I can." And when harvest comes, he'll have more than he knows what to do with.

If you give generously, if you abound in every good work, Paul says, God is able to make all grace abound to you.

In fact in vv 10 and 11 he goes even further. Look at v10,

"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."

Just try it! If you don't believe me (and I imagine this morning that some of you don't!) Just try it. Start giving away more and more and more, and just see if you don't find yourself left feeling richer in every way.

Let me read you an extract from a book called 'The Treasure Principle'…

Perhaps you want to be rich. Well then, here's how to do it…give your money away. I'm being absolutely serious.

If you keep it to yourself, you'll never feel rich, and you'll never feel rich enough. But if you give your money away, you will discover that you are richer than you ever realised. Give more and more money away to the poor and needy, and you will discover that you are richer still.

And who is it that God loves to make rich? Those who he knows will generously give those riches away, v11…

"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."

Which leads us onto the second reward for generous giving, and that is that…

God will have the glory, vv 12-14
When Christians give generously, people thank God. Look at v12…

"This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God."

When Christians give generously, because God has given generously to them. When Christians give generously and cheerfully and joyfully. The people who receive those gifts will praise God. When Christians give generously, God gets the glory.

Now, let me add something in here. Sometimes when we give generously there is the danger that we get the glory. Sometimes there is even the danger that we give generously so that we get the glory. Well, here's how to avoid that, give in secret. If you feel the desire to give to someone, why not put the money in a card, with their name on it, write them a message, and then leave the end blank.

When Christians give generously, because they love God, then God will have the glory. But there's more, look at v13…

"Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else."

Do you see what it says? When Christians choose to give generously, not only do people praise God for his gift, but that obedience accompanies the confession of the gospel of Christ. In other words, when Christians give generously it gives people another reason to believe what we tell them about Jesus.

The gospel of Christ is that God so loved the world that he gave us his only Son, so that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

And people will find it easier to believe that our Heavenly Father is so incredibly generous, if his children are incredibly generous too. When Christians give generously God will have the glory, which also means that the opposite is also true.

If we fail to give generously, if we are mean with what we have, then what does that say about our God? If we are mean and uncharitable with what we have, then why should people believe that our God's love is free and open to all?

"Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously."

Which leaves you and me with just one very simple but searching question this morning. What do you do what with what you have?

Do you sow sparingly? Do you give little and keep what you can for yourself? Is your giving small, and irregular, and half-hearted?

Or do you give away as much as you can? Do you wish that you could give more? Are you always on the lookout for new ways to give, and new people to give to? Do you give with joy?

If you and I would only give more generously, the Bible says, we would receive back more than we could ever imagine. 

The rewards for generous giving are that, you will have it all and God will have the glory.

Has no-one ever told you? Or have you forgotten? That being able to give is an indescribably great gift from God to us. For,

"Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, [but] whoever sows generously will also reap generously."

Let's pray.

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