Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
As it is written:
“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.”
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. – 2 Corinthians 9:6-11
Seeds are tiny, cheap, and ordinary. Yet they are packed full of potential and power. The seed of a pepper is known to hold more spice than the pepper itself. An acorn that fits in your palm can grow to be a tree that towers over 50 feet. Planting a garden can produce good fruit for generations to come.
The apostle Paul says giving is a lot like the process of sowing seeds. God can turn a seemingly small act of generosity into abundantly more than what we originally thought possible. Giving the world what you have to offer and being openhanded with what you’ve been given reaps a good harvest.
Christine, a pastor’s wife in a poor community in Rwanda, learned this when she was inspired by a story about rice. Women in a village much like hers had started a “handful of rice” initiative where people set aside some uncooked rice whenever they were preparing meals. Every week, they’d take that rice to the church and it was used to feed others in their impoverished community. After hearing about this generosity, Christine decided to start cooking an additional bit of food when she cooked meals. Widows and vulnerable children began coming to the house to eat and soon others were bringing their own food to share. Some of these dinner guests even became followers of Christ because of their time around Christine’s table and the church grew to have more active members who were involved in meeting the needs of those around them. All because of a grain of rice.
In 2 Corinthians 9, we are called to live generously. In the eyes of the world, we may have little or much, but either way, God has given each of us seeds. What we do with them is up to us. We can reap sparingly and give reluctantly. Or we can sow generously and joyfully share what we have. When we choose this second way, God blesses our efforts, generosity multiplies, and we’ll find that there’s always room for more people around the dinner table. Because the undeniable truth is that there is an organic, magical power in the potential we unearth when we plant seeds of generosity.
God, Thank you for all that you have given to us and for inviting us to live generous lives. Help us to see the seeds we have clearly and give us opportunities to plant those seeds generously. We want to be people who abound in every good work, who produce a harvest of righteousness, and who are thankful to you for blessing us abundantly. We know that one seed can be powerful and that you can do amazing things with even a simple offering of rice. Please use what we have to do what only you can, so that needs can be met and other people can be inspired to give, and ultimately so that you may be glorified. In Jesus’ name, Amen
› How have you been inspired by people’s generosity this year? How has this impacted your own generosity?
› What other Bible passages can you think of that talk about generosity? Reflect on these. What do they say about God’s character?
› What does it look like for you to cultivate a life of generosity? List some of the “seeds” God has given you. What are the things you’re called to sow generously right now and how could they help meet the needs of those around you?