Summary: God's Kingdom, A Spiritual Harvest, Joy
CULTIVATING A GENEROUS HEART - Sowing Generously
2 Corinthians 9:6-11 (p. 807) July 9, 2017
Let me show you a picture of the Dead Sea
SHOW PIC OF DEAD SEA
It’s also called “The Salt Sea” and it’s at the lowest elevation on earth. It has a salt content of almost 35%…and because of that the human body can easily float on top of it…It’s 9 times saltier than the ocean. Nothing lives in the Dead Sea!
Anybody know what body of water feeds The Dead Sea? The answer is the Jordan river…one of the most beautiful and abundant rivers on earth…filled with life…fish, trees, plants…it’s an aquatic paradise.
Why is one dead and one filled with life…because the Jordan River is constantly being replenished…fresh water feeds into it and flows out of it…Once water flows into the Dead Sea…it stays…It never escapes and it stagnates and it becomes lifeless.
Healthy water is constantly flowing, giving and receiving. Water becomes stagnant and unhealthy when it only receives.
The same is true with people…As someone said, “There are givers and takers in this world. Takers may eat better but givers sleep better.”
The Apostle Paul shares why he works hard and then quotes Jesus at the end of it in Acts 20:35.
“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
There’s a serious question I have to ask myself and other Christians. “Why do we work?” What is the purpose for me to make money…and there are several common sense answers: To pay my mortgage, car payments, food. I need to work to support my family. And those are important reasons.
But, for the Christian I believe there’s another important reason…To help others…and to show the world that my priorities are not the same as it’s priorities…That God isn’t just God over everything but my paycheck…He’s God over my paycheck as well.
I do this because “every good and perfect gift in my life comes from my Father…and I will not become the Dead Sea where only gifts flow in…I’ll be a river of life like the Jordan where gifts flow out as well.
It’s important we remember:
I. THE LAW OF THE HARVEST
“Remember this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” (2 Cor. 9:6)
Here’s Rick’s translation: Plant a bunch of seeds…get a bunch of tomatoes…plant just a couple seeds…get very few tomatoes.
This law of the harvest is about generosity. It’s not just about our money…but it does include our money as well.
It’s not a scripture to be taken out of context like so many health and wealth preachers do. This scripture is not about a one time gift…like buying a “lottery” ticket…“OK…I gave 100…now God give me back 1000!”
It’s more like this…I choose to live a cheerful life of generosity. In faith I will tithe to honor the giver of all good things and I will look for opportunities to bless others with my giving…In so doing, in faith I believe…“God will bless me abundantly, so that in every single way I can serve Him. I’m not God so I cannot tell you how He will bless you abundantly…whether it’s financially or even better…what could be even better…Here’s one small story from my life.
[I was out shopping one day and I found these four cases of golf balls with a picture of the symbol of the Ryder Cup that was supposed to take place at the Belfry Golf Course in England in 2001. It was postponed a year because of 9/11. These golf packages were from an event that never took place. And I bought all four because I thought they were collectible and cool. I gave 1 to my best friend…one to my brother in law…and one to my father…and I kept one.
Pretty soon after that, I was sitting in my office with one of our leaders names Gen Bratcher…Gene and I loved each other and worked close to each other as we built our new facility in Louisville. Gene and I had played golf together a bunch and he loved golf. I looked at my desk and there was that last packet of Ryder Cup golf balls. And I thought about giving them to Gene…but part of me really wanted to keep them. I chose generosity and he was thrilled.
Gene was diagnosed with lung cancer that month and was gone in three.
I came into my office after the funeral and on my desk sat this package of Ryder Cup golf balls with this note:
One day Gene asked me to bring to him the dresser drawer that had his personal items in it, so that he could give a few things to Darren & Krista, to each of the grandchildren, and to Domery & Laura. He had one item left. He knew you would like the golf balls and asked that I give them to you.