Read 2 Corinthians 9
Focus on verse 6
Life has a way of bringing back to us whatever we give to it. We have numerous names for this phenomenon. Karma, good or bad luck, good or bad fortune, and fate, just to name a few. It is a principle of nature as well. If I plant grass in my yard, I can expect grass to grow, well… provided I have properly prepared the soil and all. My current yard would seem to testify that mostly weeds have been planted currently. The point, however, is that one tends to harvest whatever it is one plants. This is true not only on the farm, but in the rest of life as well.
In today’s reading Paul emphasizes this concept in the context of the way we make sacrifices for one another.
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. (v. 6)
He is, in this context, addressing the collection of an offering to aid in the support of another church which was in need of resources. Essentially, what Paul is saying to the Corinthians is that if you skimp on giving to support your fellow believers in Jerusalem, you can expect the same treatment from God as you relay on Him to provide for you.
While this principle is true, it is important to understand that it does not work as a means of manipulating God to bless us. God desires for us to give freely and without compulsion, and without expectation of repayment. God also desires to bless us in return. It is true that one cannot out give God, however, if we give with the expectation that God is obligated to make us wealthy in return, it may well be better not to give at all.
In my experience – when I have attempted to manipulate God in this manner, He has taught me that He cannot be manipulated. It is not that God does not keep His promise of blessing to those who give generously, but there are times when He gives back to us in ways that we may not have anticipated. I might donate a large sum of money in the hope that God will return an even larger sum of money to me in return, only to realize that what He gives me in return is the ability to live on less, or contentment in the midst of financial stress, or the ability to lose the extra weight I am carrying because I now can only afford to buy the food I need to survive rather than all my favorite sugar laden treats that make me fat!
The bottom line is that it is the intentions of our hearts that are rewarded – if our intentions are genuine the reward is genuine, if our intentions are devious, we reap the reward of a devious heart. The harvest of what we choose to plant can be wonderfully rewarding or painfully humbling. As always the choice of what we choose to plant remains with us. The result of what we subsequently reap is in the hand of God, and not surprisingly, He is typically more gracious to us than we deserve.