Summary: "There's More Where That Came From!" 1) That's what God says to us. 2) That's what we can say to others.
An enduring childhood memory for many is dessert time at Grandma’s. If she didn’t have time to bake three kinds of pies and make two kinds of cookies, Grandma would haul out the five-gallon bucket of chocolate ice cream and dish out large scoops which she would pass down the table until everyone had one. When you were only about half way done eating that serving, Grandma would announce while holding up the ice cream scoop: “There’s more where that came from!” In other words, if you want seconds, you just have to ask. There’s plenty of ice cream.
“There’s more where that came from!” Can’t you picture the disciples saying that too as they handed out the five loaves of bread and two fish which Jesus had multiplied so that there was more than enough to feed over 5,000 people? Jesus’ generosity was not limited to that one miracle. He continues to give us good things in abundance. He is generous to us so that he may be generous through us. That was the point the Apostle Paul wanted the Corinthian Christians to grasp as he encouraged them in their life of stewardship. “There’s more where that came from.” Today we’re going to learn that’s what God says to us so that we can say it to others as we cheerfully share with them whatever they might need.
Our sermon text comes from Paul’s second letter to the church in the Greek city of Corinth. When this congregation heard about a famine that gripped Jerusalem, they were concerned about the Christians living there. They vowed to send help and were the first congregation to make that promise. Now the time had come for the Corinthians to make good on their promise and so Paul wrote: “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:6, 7).
It’s not surprising to hear Paul urge the Corinthians to give generously and cheerfully, but why did Paul think that the Corinthians would want to do this? Because Paul was certain that God was at work in their hearts. Paul said: “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work…11 You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion…” (2 Corinthians 9:8, 11a).
Why could the Corinthians be certain that giving generously to help the Christians in Jerusalem would not make themselves poor? Because the God who had given them everything to begin with, would continue to ensure that the Corinthians had enough for themselves. In other words, there was more where that came from. That’s what God was saying to them through the Apostle Paul.
God has given us that promise too and yet have you come up with a reason why you can’t give? Or when you put your offering in the plate do these thoughts cross your mind? “That could have been a car payment.” “That could have been the first installment on those braces the kids need.” “I could have enjoyed a decent night out with that money.” “I could have bought a new tablet!” Martin Luther once quipped that our wallet is the last part of us to be converted. Sure, we trust that Jesus has forgiven our sins, but do we also trust that he will keep his promise to provide for us even when we give generously and cheerfully as he wants us to do?
I pray that today’s text encourages you to be generous and cheerful givers. Why? Because no matter how much you give back to the Lord, there’s always more where that came from. Picture again that dessert scene at Grandma’s house. As she scoops ice cream from one of those huge, five-gallon buckets, your job is to hand the bowls of ice cream down to your hungry siblings and cousins. Were you ever reluctant to hand off the bowls of ice cream? I mean did you ever think that there wouldn’t be any ice cream left for you if you just kept giving it away? No. Because you could see the big bucket of ice cream and you knew there would be enough for you too.
Whenever you place an offering in the basket here at church you’re simply doing what you do at dessert time at Grandma’s. You’re handing on that which God first entrusted to you. And just as you don’t have to worry about not getting any ice cream at Grandma’s, you never have to worry about not having enough money for yourself because you gave an offering. There’s always more where that came from.