So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the gift you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction.
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
Each one must give as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
2 Corinthians 9:5-8
True or false:
Jesus said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."
The answer: true, but don't go looking for the verse in the Gospels. Tucked away near the end of the book of Acts, we learn from a first-hand witness that it was Jesus who coined that familiar phrase.
This important concept of generosity is woven throughout Scripture. Proverbs 11:24 says, "One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want." Second Corinthians 9:6 repeats, "Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully." God flows grace to the generous heart.
Some people look at other's lives and wonder, "Why don't I have what they have?" and "Why doesn't God answer my prayers like He answers theirs?" They may speculate on all the horizontal reasons, but I can tell you why. The flow of God's blessing into their lives has been plugged up by their own stinginess. They are not experiencing the grace of giving.
One of the most important decisions you make as a believer is to give your tithes and offerings to the Lord's work. I know that people abuse and twist this for their own advantage, but that doesn't give us the luxury to ignore what God's Word says. God knows what you give. Every time that offering plate comes down the aisle, He sees you take that huge step of faith, cheerfully giving what you can. But His blessing is stopped up if you sit there fearfully, miserly withholding saying, "How will I get by?" or "If I give to God who's gonna take care of me?" I'll tell you who-God will! Do you think you can out-give God? Do you think He will ever disappoint you? No. He may bless you financially, or in answered prayer, or in health and strength. But no one can out-give God. No one.
The Old Testament closes with the passage in which God welcomes you to put His generosity to the test. Malachi 3:10 says, "Bring the full tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need."
I so long for you to experience how God would desire to bless you. It
more blessed to give than receive. I challenge you in Jesus' name to experience the grace of God that flows to and through the generous heart.
Questions To Ask Yourself:
- Do I give cheerfully?
- Do I give sacrificially?
- Have I ever tried to out-give God? What would that look like?
Father all that I am is Yours, all that I have is Yours, all that I hope to be, God, it's Yours! You're everything. Give to me that generosity. Help me to trust that You will provide all that I need as I give to You for Your work here on earth. Continue to bless and prosper those who are learning this lesson and call forth others into the joy, to the delight, of proving Your faithfulness through generosity.
In Jesus' name, Amen!!!
Steve Sanders, FCA Metro Cleveland Director