“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Corinthians 9:6).
IF STINGINESS IS A PART OF OUR CHARACTER, WE WILL FIND THAT SEEKING GOD IS A QUITE DIFFICULT ENDEAVOR. On the other hand, if generosity is what motivates us, our experience is likely to be quite different: we will find the discovery of God to be considerably more pleasant. Indeed, whether we find God or not depends greatly on which of these directions our hearts are turned. If we are turned inward and our principal concern is to “get,” then we’ll probably report that the spiritual life is unrewarding. But if we are outwardly oriented and our desire is to “give” ourselves to God and to others, then we’ll have a different set of results.
When Paul wrote that “he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully,” he was addressing a specific area of obedience in the Christian life. But as he encouraged the Corinthian Christians to be generous in this particular matter, Paul pointed to a principle that is valid in almost every other area. This principle is a moral law that is as fixed as any physical law: what we “reap” is in proportion to how bountifully we have “sown.” Most of us would say that we’ve observed the validity of this principle in the secular affairs of daily living. We should not be surprised that the principle is also valid in the spiritual realm, a realm where the consequences happen to be much greater because they are eternal.
One of our most typical shortcomings is our tendency to be too conservative in our giving to God. Yet if seeking Him is as important as we believe it is, then surely this endeavor presents the ultimate opportunity for us to invest ourselves generously, giving full measure rather than holding back. And when we truly open our hearts to Him, we need not doubt what God’s response to us will be. It is not possible for us to exhaust the Lord’s bounty. “God is able,” Paul wrote, “to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).
The tissue of the Life to be
We weave with colors all our own,
And in the field of Destiny
We reap as we have sown.
(John Greenleaf Whittier)