Tuesday, September 7, 2010

How to Give According to Grace Part 4

By S. Michael Durham

We have one more principle to discuss that governs how New Testament believers are to give. According to the Word of God in 2 Corinthians 9:6, we are to give sacrificially: “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”

Most giving is based upon the principal of affordability. If we think we can afford to give, we do. Paul illustrates this with an agricultural metaphor. To sow sparingly is to sow what you think you can afford to lose. Think about it. Why would a farmer sow sparingly? Surely, he knows the more seed he sows the greater chance of a larger harvest. But in the first century, farming was more primitive than today. There were no farm stores to buy seed for present year’s growing season. A farmer would take seed from his harvest and use it for next year’s planting. Therefore, a farmer might decide to sow sparingly, concerned that his seed may not produce a good crop and hoping to ensure he’ll have seed the next year. He feared loss more than he desired gain.

This is the motive behind giving what you think you can afford. You give with an eye on possible loss. You think of things you could do with your money rather than invest in God’s kingdom. Whatever, is left over is what you think you can afford to give away. But, if we wait until we think we can afford to give we will give sparingly, if at all.

Sacrificial giving is motivated by a law of sowing and reaping. The more sown the more reaped. Therefore, the amount kept is more important than the amount given. This was true of the Macedonians. It was true of the poor widow who gave her last two mites. Most people look at the amount they give and congratulate themselves. But was it truly sacrificial? Look at how much you have after you gave and you have your answer. Sacrificial giving means that a poor person can give more than a rich person, even though the actual amount the rich give far exceeds the poor. Why? Because of the amount left over after giving. A. W. Tozer said,

Before the judgment seat of Christ, my service will be judged not by how much I have done, but by how much I could have done. In God's sight, my giving is measured not by how much I have given, but by how much I could have given and how much I had left after I had made my gift.

This is the attitude behind sacrificial giving. You think, “How can I sacrifice more so that I may reap more in the kingdom of God?” It is not motivated by a fear of loss but of gain. When you give, you never truly give it away. In reality, you are investing, and one glorious day you will reap your reward. Sow, and then sow some more!

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