What You Give Is What You'll Get - Giving, Part 1

He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
— 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 (NKJV)

During Thanksgiving and the Christmas season we hear a lot about charity, compassion and generosity. In the midst of gratitude for what we have, we are called to remember those who do not have as much.

It doesn't stop with Christmas, though. As Christians we are called to a life of generosity all year round. How does that work?

Spiritual Physics: Sowing and Reaping

In repeated examples throughout the Bible, God uses the analogy of sowing and reaping to describe spiritual principles. It is a simple but striking concept: when you plant seeds, you get out of it what you put into it. There are a couple of layers to this thought.

First, seeds reproduce after their own kind. An apple seed produces an apple tree. A tomato seed produces a tomato plant. Have you ever noticed that people who are kind to others often receive kindness in return? The guy who is always there to help his friends load their moving trucks is the guy who will have plenty of help when it comes time for him to move.

Sadly, this also works with negative seed: when we are rude to others, they are rude right back. When we are unwilling to help, it’s not likely anybody will be there to help us, either.

Second, your harvest will be in direct proportion to how much seed you planted, if all goes well. If you plant ten rows of corn, you’ll get ten rows of corn stalks. Want a big harvest? Plant a lot of seeds.

Looking again at the guy who helps his friends move, it’s likely that if he helped one friend move then that’s the friend who shows up to help him. And if he helped ten people move, he might have eight of them show up to help on moving day. All other factors being equal, more sowing equals more harvest.

Like Sunrise and Sunset, You Can Count On It

Christians are called “believers” for a reason. We believe the Bible contains vital information for life that God has inspired to be recorded and then preserved for His people through the centuries.

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
— 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NASB)

So what does the Bible teach about sowing and reaping?

We’re going to examine this more in the coming weeks, because many things in life work on this principle. After the great Flood, God declared that He would never again curse the ground and wipe out every living thing on the earth, no matter how evil man becomes. He said, "While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease." (Genesis 8:22 NKJV)

The natural principle of “seedtime and harvest” is listed right next to night and day, winter and summer, as an immutable fact of life on earth. No wonder Jesus emphasized it so often in His parables. It is part of how the world works, and it applies to more than the plant life.

TAKING IT TO HEART: A farmer sows the kind of seed that he wants to harvest later. What kind of seed have you been sowing? Kindness, money, friendship? Bitterness, complaining, selfishness? How much seed have you planted? A little, or a lot?

CHALLENGE: Ask God to bring to mind one type of seed to sow more generously, and another type of seed to stop sowing. Pray for mercy, that there would be a crop failure on the negative seed you’ve sown, and ask God to multiply the harvest on the good seed.