What will Giving Produce?
February 3, 2019
By: Jim Eshenbacher
What will giving produce? This is the question that Drew set out to answer today. If you were to listen to a sermon by a TV evangelist, you might hear that God wants to bless you for giving. You might hear that great sums of money would be multiplied into your bank account. As wonderful as that sounds… is that what God will do?
Drew chose as his text for the message 2 Corinthians 9:5-15. Verse 5 says “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 extraction.” From this verse we learn that giving ought to be done willingly, not reluctantly.
Verse 6 states, “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will reap sparingly; and whoever sows bountifully will reap also bountifully.” From this we learn to sow bountifully, not sparingly. If we sow bountifully to the world, we will reap bountifully from the world. Do you seem to be hemmed in by the things of the world? Check your sowing history. What seeds do you so bountifully and what seeds do you sow sparingly?
Verse 7 tells us, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Give cheerfully not reluctantly. “Cheerfully” is more than a description of immediate actions; it is a heart attitude. Perhaps if your heart attitude is one of reluctance, you might be better off not giving. Your heart attitude might be a result of how you view God.
Do you view God as a taker?
Do you view God as a giver?
If you view God as a taker, you might resent His power and His control. But if you view him as a giver, you understand that you can’t out give God. The more you give away, the more he pours in.
While Drew was preaching, I remembered a story from the Old Testament. Joseph, who had been sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, became the #2 man in power in Egypt. His brothers came to get food, not knowing who Joseph was. When they left with food, they discovered that their money was still in each bag. Joseph was a type of Jesus. He went before us and is preparing for us. When we come to Jesus we always get more than we planned. God is a giver… not a taker.
Drew made an important point; a knee jerk reaction to the erroneous teaching that God wants to give us a bundle of money if we will first give him some is to believe that God does not want to bless us. How often have you lived with that thought? It is not fair to a generous God. The Bible is filled with the generosity of God. Consider the substitutionary death of Jesus. That was a gift with no benefit to God. He planned that before the beginning of time. He does give us gifts. Many of them.
So, what is in it for us? When we give to God’s work, we are likely taking away our chance to do something else. So, we make the decision, “I’d rather have what God gives than what I can see the world gives.”
Romans 14:17 says “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” The kingdom of God, where He gives gifts, is not identified by our senses. It is in the realm of the Spirit, invisible, yet relevant. What is in it for you and me is an even greater ability to be righteous… a greater desire to be generous. We will give more thanks to God and our joy will be increased a we see God meet people’s needs. That is quite evident as we hear the stories from the mission field; but our immediate mission field, our neighborhood, is also in view. We will experience more affection and love among God’s people.
A takeaway from this sermon is that we receive from God, but it is not in proportion to our giving. It is exponentially greater. And his gifts to us are well thought out; they are not more things to get tangled up in. They are in His kingdom, for now and for our future.