He who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully
2 Corinthians 9:1-15 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
For it is superfluous for me to write to you about this ministry to the saints; 2 for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the Macedonians, namely, that Achaia has been prepared since last year, and your zeal has stirred up most of them. 3 But I have sent the brethren, in order that our boasting about you may not be made empty in this case, so that, as I was saying, you may be prepared; 4 otherwise if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we—not to speak of you—will be put to shame by this confidence. 5 So I thought it necessary to urge the brethren that they would go on ahead to you and arrange beforehand your previously promised bountiful gift, so that the same would be ready as a bountiful gift and not affected by covetousness.
6 Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; 9 as it is written, “He scattered abroad, he gave to the poor, His righteousness endures forever.”
10 Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; 11 you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. 13 Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all, 14 while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
In John 10:10 Jesus says: "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” But what is the abundance that Jesus gives? It is not as the world understands or perceives abundance. In Matthew 6:19-21 Jesus says: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” So, our abundance is not that we have excess things in this life. But how is it then that we are to store up treasures in heaven? How do we convert the abundance of Christ in this life to heavenly treasure? In today’s text it says: Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; as it is written, “He scattered abroad, he gave to the poor, His righteousness endures forever.” So, the abundance of Christ in this life is the abounding grace of God; it is so that we have all sufficiency in everything, so that we may have an abundance for every good deed. Look again: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. To have abundance then we must give abundantly, but we must also give cheerfully, not grudgingly. God always looks at the heart. If we give only because we think we must give, we are sowing in a negative spirit and cannot expect to reap what is good. In the same way, if we give only because we expect that we will receive more back, we nullify our giving. God loves a cheerful giver, not one who gives to try to manipulate God’s grace. God’s grace is a free gift. We cannot purchase shares of God’s grace as if it were a stock.
The principle of sowing and reaping does not only apply to our finances, but to every area of our lives. Along with the return being based on the amount that we sow, we also receive back based on the content of what we sow. If a farmer plants corn, it is corn that will be harvested. If wheat is planted, then wheat will be harvested. In Matthew 6:14-15, after teaching the disciples how to pray, Jesus says: If you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. If we want to reap a life that enjoys the forgiveness of God, we need to sow seeds of forgiveness to others. In Matthew 7:1-2 Jesus says: “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” If we sow judgment, we will reap judgment in return.
Fruit is another word for what we harvest or what is yielded from our sowing. We receive the fruit of our labor. Galatians 5:16-25: Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. There are many people who want to experience and operate in the power of the Holy Spirit; wanting to see the miracles of Jesus and the early church. To reap from the power of the Holy Spirit, we must walk in the Spirit and we must sow fruit that is of the Spirit. We cannot expect that if we live for and sow to the flesh, that we will reap from the power of the Holy Spirit. He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully… God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit thank You for Your abundance. Thank You that You give out of Your abundance according to what we give and how we live. Thank You that Your grace abounds in my life and through You I have sufficiency in everything. By the power of the Holy Spirit, may I sow and reap fruit of the Spirit. Amen.