Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
- 2 Corinthians 9:6
God is generous. And he has been generous toward us. As we encounter his generosity, he transforms our hearts and we become the sort of people who can give generously.
Today, as we reflect on this passage about sowing and reaping, we are reminded that God invites us to act on our generous impulses.
Writing to the church in Corinth, Paul pointed to a commonly known agricultural principle. He assumes that his readers are going to be giving gifts (in his case, they were taking up a collection to bless the poor in Jerusalem). The nudge he’s giving them is to give generously.
Imagine a farmer with 36 healthy acres of land. The land has been prepared for seeding. Row after row of empty seedbeds stretch across the rolling acres. The farmer reaches into a bag full of seeds and plucks one small seed out of the bag. Slowly, he reaches down and plants that one seed in the earth. He covers it and waters it tenderly. When the harvest comes, what will he have?
This Christmas season we’ll have opportunity after opportunity to give: #GivingTuesday, Christmas shopping, Holiday Cheer at church. Maybe you have a friend or a neighbor who lost a loved one this year and could use someone to give a gift of time, attention, and empathy as Christmas draws near. God’s encouragement to you in this season is to find a way to be generous.
Three caveats here:
- Generosity isn’t limited to financial generosity. The Bible is full of stories of people who, out of their poverty, proved to be rich in generosity. Some of the most generous-hearted people we know are some of the poorest. They find ways to express holy and loving generosity in all kinds of ways that have nothing to do with money.
- Don’t be financially foolish in the name of generosity. You don’t want to still be paying off your Christmas gifts on Groundhog Day. God is both generous AND creative. Be both this year.
- This verse that we looked at today is not a 1:1 promise to us. If you give someone a gift card, don’t demand an iPhone in return. You may not get a gift back. You may not even get a “Thank You.” The reward of giving isn’t stuff. The reward of giving is … well … that’s something you can only discover as you’re generous.
How are you preparing to be generous this holiday season? What adjustments do you need to make to your holiday plans in order to be more generous?