Wednesday, 28 October 2015
Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 2 Corinthians 9:10
In accord with verses 6-9, Paul now pronounces a hopeful blessing upon the promised seed which the Corinthians intend to sow. As they give, Paul desires that they will also receive a harvest in return. “Now may He” is obviously speaking of the Lord who is the Source of all things. It is “He who supplies seed to the sower.”
The word for “supplies” here is epichorégeó and it used for the first time in Scripture. Charles Ellicott notes its unusual history –
“Originally it expressed the act of one who undertook to defray the expenses of the chorus of a Greek theatre. As this was an act of somewhat stately generosity, the verb got a wider range, and was applied to any such act, and was so transferred in like manner by the Apostle, probably, as far as we can trace, for the first time, to the divine bounty.
Paul, leaning on his understanding of the Greek cultures and traditions, uses this word in a new sense as he ascribes the supplying he speaks of directly to the Creator, from whom all things originally stem. He will use the word two more times in his epistles and Peter will pick it up from him and use it twice as well.
The phrase “seed to the sower” finds its roots in Isaiah. There he wrote –
“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,
11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10, 11
In addition to such seed, it is the Lord who provides “bread for food.” The seed grows, it is harvested and then it is turned into bread to feed man. Paul asks that such a blessing of prosperity from a seed, even to a full stomach, come upon the Corinthians with the petition that the Lord “supply and multiply the seed you have sown.” They have pronounced that they would give a gift and Paul writes as if the gift has already been collected. In turn for their (promised) faithfulness, his words beg for a return blessing upon them.
However, the final words show that the return is not just a return of the same type which was sown. They are to invest money, but Paul asks that the Lord will “increase the fruits of your righteousness.” The words come from the Greek translation of Hosea 10:12 and indicate spiritual blessings. It is the fruits of the righteousness and not necessarily the fruits of the seed that will be increased. Paul then is referring as much to heavenly rewards as he is referring to an earthly return on their investment.
It would be inappropriate to think that by giving money that a sudden shower of money would come flooding back down on them. Rather, the rewards may come in this life, or they may come at the time of our meeting with Christ at the judgment seat. But either way, they will come. The Lord will reward all faithful sowing.
Life application: When you give, do so with an open hand and without attaching conditions upon the gift. If you give in hopes of receiving back, then you have given with the wrong intention. Be content to share what you have. The Lord will reward you in His own way and in His own time.
Lord, help my heart to be right before You, not looking for something in return for the good things I do for others. Instead, help me to be open-handed to others without expecting to profit off of my deeds. I know that You will reward me according to Your wisdom and in Your timing. Let my heart simply be glad to help others, knowing that it is the right thing to do. Amen.