Summary: A havest of generosity among God’s people will lead to a greater harvest on the "last day".
Cajun humorist Justin Wilson tells the story about two boys who were neighbors. They were best of friends on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, but on Sunday they were enemies because one was a Catholic and the other was a Baptist.
Their parents didn’t like the fact that these religious differences were producing such a bad relationship, so they agreed to have their sons visit each other’s church services so that a mutual understanding might foster a better attitude.
On the first Sunday, the Baptist boy visited the Catholic Church. All through the mass, the Baptist boy wanted to know what this and that meant, and the little Catholic boy explained everything very nicely.
The next Sunday it was the Catholic boy’s turn to visit the Baptist church. When they walked in the building, an usher handed them a printed bulletin. The little Catholic boy had never seen anything like that before in his whole life. "What’s that mean?" he asked. His Baptist friend carefully explained. This went on throughout the whole service. When the preacher stepped into the pulpit, he carefully opened his Bible, and conspicuously took off his watch and laid it on the pulpit. "What’s that mean?" the Catholic boy asked.
The Baptist boy said, "Not a darn thing!"
I promise to break this trend tonight and try to be time conscious but I do have some things on my heart that I feel is good to bring to you tonight. To be quite honest, you might be a little surprised at the topic of tonight’s sermon and yet I feel it is completely appropriate for an occasion like this.
“Remember this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
I have a confession to make. I’m not much of a farmer. If the world depended on me for their food you would all go hungry. I think I’ve passed this bad luck on to my wife. It seems like this woman can’t keep a flower alive. Every year she wants to go out and buy new flowers for the front yard and I’ve actually said to her: “why buy flowers if you are just going to kill ‘em”. But even though I don’t have much of a green thumb I still understand this logical point that Paul makes about farming. A point that these Corinthians would have understood: the more seed that you scatter the greater the harvest is going to be. And the same is true on the flip side that the farmer who refuses to take a risk on his grain will inevitably have a smaller harvest.
Most of you probably know that the Bible gives countless images of a harvest:
• Matthew 9 – With a compassionate heart for lost people Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are so few.”
• John 4:35 – “I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.”
• That parable that Jesus told in Matthew 13 about the farmer who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat came up so also the weeds. The master tells the servants not to pick the weeds because in the process they might accidentally pull up the wheat. Let them grow together until harvest. Later that parable is explained that the harvest is the end of the age and the harvesters are the angels separating the weeds and the wheat, or the saved from the unsaved.
• Revelation 14:14-16 – “I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one “like a son of man” with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. Then another angel came to him out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, “Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.”
Wouldn’t you agree, and I’m sure all of us would that regardless of all our differences of opinion on different verses in the bible, we would still all agree that in the end when the final harvest takes place we want there to be as much “wheat” as possible? Or let me put it another way: wouldn’t you agree that we want as many people to come to know Jesus and make him their savior? Wouldn’t you agree that we want as many people as possible to share in this salvation that we now have as possible?