Return to Giving

April 5, 2017

by Erin Bird

Here in Iowa, we are moving into planting season in the next month or so. Farmers all over our state will be preparing their fields to put seed in the ground.

Every farmer hopes their seed is good, their ground will be fertile, and the weather will cooperate to make a bountiful harvest in the fall. But can you imagine a farmer planting only one-fourth of his land, and yet getting irate when he doesn't have a record harvest in the fall? You'd look at him like he was crazy! He planted incredibly sparingly, so why should he expect to get a full yield as if he planted all of his acres?

This is exactly the Apostle Paul's point in 2 Corinthians 9:6.

Sparingly vs. Bountifully

We started a new series here in the News & Notes email last week on the topic of financial generosity. Paul talks about this issue in 2 Corinthians 9, and this week we are going to look at verse 6, which says...

"The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully."

Paul isn't talking farming here like I did at the start of this post. The context is finances. And his point is incredibly clear. If you give a little bit of money, you can expect to get back only a little. But if you give generously and bountifully, you can expect a bountiful return.

Some Giving Questions

But this brings up a couple of questions. First, how do we get a "return" and who gives it?

As we'll see over the next couple of weeks, the "who" is God. God gives a return to us in accordance with what we give as part of our worship.

But does this mean we give for the sole purpose of getting? Personally, that makes me uncomfortable. The giving that Paul is talking about (and that we will see together over the next couple of weeks) is to be for worship to God and for the blessing of others. Giving isn't to be first about us and what we can get out of it.

And yet, there is a "return" to our giving that we can't ignore. If we are only willing to give a little bit, then we'll only get a small return. But when we are willing to give generously, God provides for our needs abundantly.

It All Belongs to God

And that brings me to the last point I will make today. Everything we have is God's in the first place. Your home, your family, your job, even the air you breathe is God's, and He happily gives it to you.

That is why when you are stingy with your financial giving, you are acting as though your money is yours. And because you are (in a sense) hoarding His stuff, God isn't going to entrust more to you. But if you are willing to be generous, recognizing it is God's and He wants you to use the finances He gives you to bless others and exhibit faith in Him, He will gladly provide for you.

So don't "sow sparingly." Instead, learn the joy of giving "bountifully" and generously, trusting that God can do more with your money than you ever could, and there will be a return in your giving.

Erin Bird Lead Pastor - Riverwood Church

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