This is Part 1 of a 4 Part series on Stewardship.
We’ve all heard it before but the question is, do we believe it? Do we really think it’s better to give than receive? Much of our culture (and our own lives) would suggest we don’t. Why is that? In those rare moments when I choose to give over receive, the joy actually seems greater and yet somehow it remains a struggle.
Chapters 8 and 9 of 2 Corinthians talks a lot about giving. Paul highlights a church in Macedonia and their commitment to give, even when times were difficult, because of the joy they had. This group of individuals seems to have figured out the joy in giving.
Taking a look at a couple verses in chapter 9 (2 Cor. 9:6-15) we notice a few things that can help us find joy in giving…
More seeds = More crops = Greater harvest (vs 6).
This was no surprise to Paul’s readers when he mentioned this common agricultural fact, the more seeds a farmer sows, the more plants that grow, and the bigger the harvest. The suggestion is that the more we give, the more we’ll receive. This is not a get-rich-quick scheme where $1 turns into $2 but instead a method of giving that can produce greater joy.
Expect to give (vs 7).
When you and I have an expectation that something will be asked of us, it is typically easier to deal with emotionally. When we expect to give of our time, talents, and treasure it becomes less difficult to part with. This expectation and preparation keeps us from being “surprised” by the offering basket when it comes by or when we’re asked to volunteer for this or that. Most of us have been to parties, events, dinners, etc. that end up being “fundraisers in disguise,” which makes us more reluctant to give and in turn, less likely to experience the joy of giving. Paul tells us to prepare our gifts so that we might give cheerfully, not under compulsion.
God provides, we give ( vs 8-15).
There is a great cycle of giving that happens when we give of ourselves and our resources. God provides our needs (and then some in most cases) and as we give, he continues to give in order that we might keep on giving. God is always the initiator of giving and as he gives to us, we give to others, he gives us more, and we keep giving… God intends us to freely give as we have freely received. This not only brings joy to those who give but witnesses to the generosity of the God who loves and loves to give.