Summary: What do you do with all that God has givn you? How do you treasure God's provisions?
“Treasuring God’s Provisions”
Acts 4:32-37; 2 Cor. 9:1-15
There’s little that is more deflating than giving someone a precious gift and having them say, “Oh, I was really hoping for…” and they mention something else. There is little that is more discouraging than giving someone a precious gift and having them say, “Oh, this is so wonderful. Nobody will ever touch it but me! It’s all mine!” Yet just how do you react to the provisions God has graciously given you? Paul wrote (2 Cor. 9:8) that “…God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need…” What do you do with all that God has given you? How do you treasure God’s provisions?
Paul teaches us what treasuring God’s provisions looks like. He begins, by pointing to THE PRINCIPLE OF RETURN. Look again at verse 6: “Remember this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” It is a law of life; it is reality. GOD HAS ESTABLISHED A METHOD. A farmer, for example, knows that the more seeds he wisely sows, the greater will be his yield. Any good sales person knows that the more contacts she makes – the more phone calls, visits, and letters – the more sales she will make. In building relationships the more friendly and loving we are the more friends we will have. Certainly financially it is also true – the more we invest wisely the more we earn.
God’s method in all of life is that WHAT WE RECEIVE IS PROPORTIONATE TO WHAT WE GIVE. Listen to the testimony of Scripture: Proverbs 3:9-10 – “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine;” Proverbs 11:24ff. – “One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed;” Proverbs 19:17 – “He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done.” What we receive is proportionate to what we give!
Paul’s whole discussion actually began in chapter 8. He was thanking the church in Macedonia for sharing their resources to relieve the hard times in Corinth - even though they had little to share. (8:2-4) “Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints.” As he reflected upon it Paul said that their giving was really a sowing, their sharing was really investing, and that in giving this way they experienced high returns.
Abraham Lincoln discovered the same principle early in his life. He operated a little country store with a man named Berry. The day came when they knew the end of the sagging business was in sight. Said Lincoln, “I wouldn’t mind so much if I could just do what I want to do. I want to study law. I wouldn’t mind so much if we could sell everything we’ve got and pay all our bills and have just enough left over to buy one book, Blackstone’s commentary on English law, but I guess I can’t.” About that time a strange looking wagon came up the road. The driver drove it up close to the store porch, and the man looked at Lincoln and said, “I am trying to move my family West and I’m out of money. I’ve got a good barrel on here that I could sell for fifty cents.” Lincoln’s eyes looked at the wagon and then settled on the wife, face thin and emaciated, who was looking up at him pleadingly. He reached into his pocket and took out what he said was his last fifty cents. All day long the barrel sat on the porch and Berry kept chiding him. Late in the evening, Lincoln looked down into the barrel and saw some things on the bottom. As he pulled them out he was petrified – among them was Blackstone’s commentary. Lincoln later wrote: “I stood there holding the book, looking up toward the heavens. There came a deep impression on me that God had something for me to do and he was showing me now that I had to get ready for it. Why this miracle otherwise?” God’s method – what we receive is proportionate to what we give. How do you treasure God’s provisions? The principle of return.