Summary: We arae jars of clay to whom God gives gifts and through whom God gives gifts.
Title: Jars of Generosity
Text: II Corinthians 9:6-11
Thesis: We are “Jars of Clay” to whom God gives gifts and through whom God gives gifts.
Bonnie and I are parents. Raising children is a costly endeavor. According to the latest estimates, a family making $70,200 a year or more will spend $269,520 to raise a child from birth to age 17. The USDA has charts for calculating the costs of housing, transportation, food, clothing, health care, child care, education, and they top it off with a cost of $32,460 for miscellaneous. (MSN Money Staff, The Basics: Raising Your Million Dollar Baby, MSN Money)
I have no idea how we managed to raise ours… I suspect we did it for considerably less than a quarter million dollars per kiddo.
Whatever the cost, It did not matter. Any sacrifices we made were inconsequential. Our children were gifts from God. If it was a matter of money, the only way to have saved the cost of children was to not have them. It costs to have living children.
As long as our church is alive and as long as the ministries of our church here and around the world are alive… it will cost of something. We do not want to be a church on life-support. We do not want to be a feeding-tube church. We want to be alive and well. We want a quality of life that enables us to have a vibrant ministry in our community and the world.
God has a great deal to say about the resources he entrusts to us… in fact God’s Word is much more vocal about giving than we realize. So, if we are people of the Word, care what the Word of God has to say to us, and what it means, we will be receptive to this truth, just as we are receptive to any other biblical teaching.
We will be looking at several biblical principles this morning… this is the first truth:
I. There is a direct link between God’s blessing and our generosity.
• Remember this, a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. II Corinthians 9:6
In the spring of 1621, Squanto taught the Pilgrims how to plant corn. “The Pilgrims immediately recognized the value: No other plant could produce quite as much food as fast on a given patch of new world ground as the Indian corn.” (Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilema, P 25)
Wheat was the old world grain they had brought from the old country but the return of wheat was less than 50:1 or fifty grains of wheat returned for every grain of wheat planted. However, one kernel of corn resulted in a 150 – 300:1 return. The more kernels of corn planted, the more kernels of corn were harvested in return.
There are two challenges we need to keep in mind as we consider just how generous we want to be in our planting:
A. The first challenge is to be obedient to God.
• Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything your land produces. Proverbs 3:10
• “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple... “ Malachi 3:10
The second challenge is a matter of trust.
B. The second challenge is to trust God.
• If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving – large or small, it will be used to measure what is given back to you. Luke 6:38
• Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything your land produces. Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with the finest wine. Proverbs 3:10
• “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord Almighty, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Let me prove it to you!” Malachi 3:8-10
The question that lingers in the mind of the person who considers whether or not to give is, “Will I have enough left over?” Or, the giver might wonder, “If I give, will God really meet my needs?” God’s Word says God can be can be trusted to not only take care of our needs, but to give more in return. I don’t know exactly what that looks like, but I have an image in my mind.
This week I dropped by Boyer Coffee over on 72nd and Washington. I used a gift certificate to stock up on Rocky Mountain Thunder Coffee. I ordered one-pound ground and two pounds of beans. When got to my study, I brought in the pound of ground coffee and poured it into an airtight canister. As I fill it, I shake it and tamp it to pack the coffee more tightly, so I can room for more coffee. That is the image we see in this verse… the image of God shaking and compacting his blessing so we can receive more of his goodness.