Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Cor 9:6-7
In this week's fighter verse the setting is Paul writing a letter to the Corinthians. In this particular section he is speaking with them about taking up a collection for the saints, or Church members, in Jerusalem. He is asking for a financial contribution when he gives this advice: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
While this is a perfectly logical agricultural metaphor, it might be easily twisted when we think about money. Is Paul here saying that if we give little money to God then he will give little money back to us? Is he saying that if we give a lot that God will necessarily have to give us back a lot? Let's look down a few verses and see what it is that the Corinthians are actually reaping, it it more money? Verse 12 and 13 say this: "For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission flowing from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others," The blessings that the Corinthians give, flowing out of their confession of the gospel, result in the Jerusalem Christians glorifying God. What they sow in submission they reap in treasure greater than money, God's fame.
Paul encourages them further. He says, Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. Paul was on his way to Corinth, hints the letter, and he didn't want to show up and make them feel obligated to give because he was staring them face to face. What he is getting at is that the motive of giving is precious. God loves a cheerful giver, he says. A cheerful giver is one who is joy-motivated in their giving. They do not see it as a duty, or a drudgery; they do not do it in pride to be noticed or fear of looking "cheap", they do it because they love the harvest of God's glory.
God, help us to be joy-motivated givers. I read this and am reminded to repent - thanks be to God for his grace! Let us make up our mind to reap a big harvest of God's glory in Decatur. Let us give all that we have, cheerfully, for the return of treasure in Christ.