Summary: Sowing and Reaping is permanently and proportionately connected.
Are You Ready for Some Fun in the Son!
1 Now it is superfluous for me to write to you about the ministry for the saints, 2 for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year.
This is the time of year when Michigan people start dreaming about the sandy beaches of Florida, the warmth of a cabana in Cancun, or the fun of the surf in California. It’s superfluous to ask you if you are ready for some fun in the sun!
I love that word superfluous. It means overflowing or over the top. It’s so obvious it doesn’t need to be said.
Well, the question I’m asking you today is the same one Paul asked the people in Corinth 2000 years ago. Are you ready for some fun in the Son? (That’s spelled S – O – N.) Let me explain.
Corinth was the ancient America of today. It was a city of commerce and wealth. It was a society that created a culture celebrating the artistic and hedonistic pursuits of humanity.
And the church in Corinth reflected that culture. In the 1 Letter Paul wrote to the Corinthians he challenge the believers to be different than the culture they lived in.
Chapter 1-3 Commitment to Jesus and unity of the body
Chapter 4 Commitment to the Apostles and their willingness to follow their leaders
Chapter 5 was about sexual immorality in the church
Chapter 6 was about lawsuits and disagreements in the body
Chapter 7 was about marriage, divorce, and Godly families
Chapter 8 talked about being in the world but not participating in worldly things.
Chapter 9 talked about the importance of ministry and supporting those who were called into full time service.
Chapter 10 contains a warning against idolatry including covetousness
Chapter 11 dealt with authority and submission to those in leadership including Jesus
Chapter 12 – Spiritual Gifts
Chapter 13 – Faith hope and Love
Chapter 14 – Worship and Preaching
Chapter 15 – Resurrection of Jesus – and us
Chapter 16 – The work of the Kingdom of God
The message of 1 Corinthians was that they needed to grow up. They were a mess and full of sin. But the message of 2 Corinthians is “Now you are ready…” They had heard the message of the first letter and had been transformed by the power of God in their lives. They weren’t perfect but they were going and growing.
I believe that this is a description of Meridian Christian Church. Not that we have it all down or all figured out. We are, in fact, still learning to be a people worthy of wearing his name. But a mature church moves to the next level in many different core values. It’s a matter of raising the bar and hitting the next level of intensity.
And, this is the cool part; It is when you get to that level of intensity and performance that you discover the fun in following after Jesus. The spiritual word is joy. Joy is that indescribable, bubbling up from the inside, intense and incredible sense of… well-being.
Here is my prediction for 2012… This next year is going to be a lot of fun. The spiritual word is joy and it’s going to come from Giving It Away – individually and together.
That’s where Corinth was at and that’s why 2 Corinthians 9 speaks of readiness, zeal, and preparation. Paul speaks here of five characteristics of a culture of Generosity – Fun Filled Giving
Fun is Proportionate to the Giving
6 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
Sowing and Reaping is permanently and proportionately connected.
It’s true in farming and it’s true in giving. BTW: It’s not the gift. It’s the consistent, even habitual, culture of generosity. It is the action of giving more than the gift itself. We’re talking about an attitude of generosity here.
Folks, I think it’s important to be generous in life especially in all your dealings in business and in giving. This is not easy for me – because I’m cheap.
Almost 20 years ago Donna and I traveled to Venezuela. The last night we were there we walked on the Sabana Grande which was a kind of outdoor flea market in downtown Caracas. In Caracas you bargain for everything you buy on the street and I think it’s fun. I love to get a deal – because I’m cheap!
We saw a vendor selling plates with jungle scenes painted on them. I gave him 20 Bolivars (about $10) for his last three plates. He would have sold them to me for less but I was going back home the next day and I didn’t need Bolivars in Ohio.