Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. – 2 Corinthians 9:6-7
From Lindsey Weeks
I recently studied 2 Corinthians. The phrase that constantly came to mind as I was reading it was upside down kingdom. Let me give you a couple of examples: rely on God and not on ourselves (1:9), we aren’t sufficient within ourselves (3:5), we walk by faith and not by sight (5:7), we boast in our weaknesses (11:30). So, what does the world have to say about each of these things? The world says rely on ourselves, the world says believe in ourselves and that we are sufficient, the world says believe in science and what you can see, the world says to boast in yourself. Now do you see what I mean when I say upside down? That’s what Jesus’ kingdom looks like, upside down and opposite of the world.
This passage in 2 Corinthians 9 is yet another topic that seems to be upside down from the world. Paul is teaching about giving generously and cheerfully. He is sending a group to collect a blessing from the Corinthians that will support churches in Jerusalem. He encourages them to give by reminding them that he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully…meaning, the man who plants his seeds generously will have a great harvest. Paul is calling the church in Corinth to trust that God is more generous than they could ever be and that if they are willing to lay their wants or needs aside to give sacrificially, then God will provide a return for their generosity. What does that return look like? I think we often mistake that return to be something worldly like a doubled bonus or a new car, but I believe God promises a return that is even better than these things. The return He promises is eternal: a deep joy in the giving, a heart that can live free from worldly pleasures, and a heart that ultimately treasures Jesus and His kingdom more than our own wants or needs.
Let’s memorize this together.