I have to brag on my daughter: she is a giver! From the time she was barely a toddler to now a teenager, she's always been a giver. My office is wall papered with her drawings she's given me. I drink out of a coffee mug that she gave me. My wife and I are constantly finding love notes and small gifts left around the house from her. And it brings her so much joy to give! It should bring us joy when we give to God and others!
In II Corinthians 9:6-8 we're given some realities about giving. Let's look:
- You reap what you sow and only how much you sow. If you plant an apple seed, you're going to get an apple tree! We would be foolish to expect a rose bush if we plant an apple seed! In Galatians 6:8 we are told that if we sow seeds of our selfish nature, we will reap death. If we sow seeds of the things of God, we will reap eternal life. In II Corinthians 9:6 we're told that whoever sows sparingly will reap sparingly and whoever sows generously will reap generously. That makes sense. If we want a field of corn we must plant a field of seeds! We are foolish to think we can give of ourselves little and and yet reap lots. If you want to reap many blessings, you must sow many acts of giving.
- Giving is a thought out decision based on love. We shouldn't give because we're guilted in to it or for any other reason than because we want to express our love. If you don't believe giving is an act of love, consider this: Several years ago my daughter needed open-heart surgery. When the cardiologist diagnosed her with ASD and told us he could correct the issue, we didn't ask "how much is this going to cost us?" Our response was "How soon can you get her in to surgery?!" Our love for our daughter overshadowed any thought of the expenses the surgery was going to incur. Fast forward, my daughter's pet rat got sick. Believe it or not, I called the vet and was informed that for several hundred dollars we could have the rat seen, diagnosed, and treated. Hundreds of dollars?!?! Our love for the rat was certainly different than our love for our daughter. Because we didn't love the same, we didn't invest the same. We made the rat comfortable its last few days on earth. Giving is an act of love. What we love and hold dear, we invest in. Jesus said to love God and love others. We should give to others because of our love for God and man. II Corinthians 9:7 says we should give based on what we have decided in our heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion.
- God loves it when we give with joy in our heart. II Corinthians 9:7 goes on to say "God loves a cheerful giver." When we give, it should be done with the same spirit my daughter gives to us. She can't wait for us to open her gifts. She's eager to please and it brings her so much joy to bless us. Our Father delights in our joy of giving to Him and in His Name.
- God gives to us so we can give to others. We're blessed to be a blessing. II Corinthians 9:8 says 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." God loves you. He gives to you because He loves you. But He also gives to you so you can give to others. When we do that with joy in our heart, it pleases Him and positions us to receive even more blessings from Him.
- If you have a need, plant a seed! Do you need encouragement? Be an encourager! Do you need a friend? Be a friend! Do you need financial help? Give to others in need! When you ask God for something, tell Him how what you are asking for will be a blessing to someone else.
What seeds will you sow? For more on this, watch the full message and make sure you "like" me on my Dr Jeremy Gates Facebook page!