Saturday, 24 October 2015
But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 2 Corinthians 9:6
This verse closely matches Galatians 6:7, 8 –
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.”
However, there are marked differences in the intent behind the two as well. In this verse, Paul gives a push for graciously abundant giving. It is a thought which builds upon the entire discourse concerning giving. Not only were they to not give grudgingly (verse 5), but they should give in an exceptional way.
In explanation then, he says, “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly.” Sowing is when one puts seed in the ground in the planting of crops. If someone puts a handful of grain into the ground on a large field, they won’t be reaping very much at harvest time. However, if one takes the chance, sows a large amount of grain (which could be otherwise eaten or sold for money), and tends to the field, they will probably have a far different result. As noted, “He who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”
John Chyrsostom says, “He calls it sowing in order that we may learn by the figure of the harvest that in giving we receive more than we give.” This is generally true. There is, of course, no guarantee that a field will yield a thing. Drought, infestations, etc, may destroy the entire crop. But one cannot reap bountifully unless they first sow bountifully. And the word translated here as “bountifully” literally means “with blessings.
In this, we can see that there is more than just a material reaping at the harvest. There is also the satisfaction which accompanies the reaping. Blessings are what come to us in that which we find satisfaction. A person may simply be blessed by working in the cool breeze under the blue sky. But unless one goes out to reap, this part of the blessing will be missed.
However, the general principle here is a return on an investment by an increase of the same thing which was invested. A couple proverbs follow this same broad thought –
“There is one who scatters, yet increases more;
And there is one who withholds more than is right,
But it leads to poverty.
25 The generous soul will be made rich,
And he who waters will also be watered himself.” Proverbs 11:24, 25
“He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord,
And He will pay back what he has given.” Proverbs 19:11
Without taking this to an unintended extreme, which modern “word of faith” preachers do, this is a general principle of increase. If a preacher promises that you will reap a hundred-fold if you send him $100.00, don’t waste your time. God is not a cosmic ATM. He tends to our needs, and He rewards each of us according to His wisdom, not our greed.
Further, it needs to be remembered that “sowing bountifully” is something that can only be determined by the individual in relation to what they already possess. If a millionaire sews $500.00, it really isn’t that much. In fact, it would be nothing compared to a cash-strapped blue collar worker who gave the same amount. Just because it is the same amount, the proportion is one which can’t truly be compared. To Proverbs again –
“He who has a generous eye will be blessed,
For he gives of his bread to the poor.” Proverbs 22:9
Life application: You cannot sow unless you reap. One cannot reap a great amount unless they sow enough to produce a great amount. This general principle applies in giving. All will be rewarded for their faithful sowing, but some of that reaping may not be realized in this life. If you’re giving in order to receive, you have missed the joy of giving and the reward may not be what you had hoped for.
Heavenly Father, Your word tells us that he who sows bountifully will reap bountifully. However, this is often taken to unintended places by people who want to get rich off of the giving of others. Help us to give with an open hand, to anticipate blessings from You for giving done in faith, and yet to understand that You are not a cosmic ATM. Instead, You will reward us according to Your wisdom and not towards our misguided wants. Thank You for every blessing that comes from Your open hand of grace. Amen.