Summary: Pentecost 5 [Harvest Festival (C)] Believers harvest God’s blessing because our God is our generous giver so that we can also live as thankful givers.
WE HARVEST GOD’S BLESSINGS July 9, 2006 - PENTECOST 5 / HARVEST FESTIVAL - 2 Corinthians 9:6-11
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Dear Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:
Suddenly we realize that in our blessed nation of the United States, we live, as it seems, in a world of worry. We don’t have to listen to the radio too long or read the headlines too far or see the news too often to feel that type of worry that infiltrates our day-to-day living. There is the economy, prices, terror, weather and the list never stops, does it? It seems that if there isn’t one thing to worry about, there is another list of things that might happen or things that did happen or things that will happen. So what happens to us as believers who live in this world? Worry can easily infiltrate our life. Time to time, we may scratch our heads and be overcome with worry wondering what might happen or could happen or may happen.
Today, we are going to look at the fact that our loving Lord cares for us with an infinite care and with a divine care that only he can provide. The very God who made the heavens and the earth is our God. He is the one who takes care of us, not just bodily, but body and soul. He reminds us this morning as he reminded his disciples in Luke: "Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!" (Luke 12:23.24). So today we are reminded that we are far more valuable than the raven or any other of God’s creation.. As we remind ourselves of that, we remind ourselves, too, that according to Paul’s words—
WE HARVEST GOD’S BLESSINGS. We enjoy God’s blessings day after day as we see that
I. Our God is a cheerful giver;
II. We then can be thankful givers.
I. GOD IS OUR CHEERFUL GIVER
This idea of generosity and thanksgiving begins in Chapter 8 of 2 Corinthians. You may want to read this as an introduction to our text. Paul writes to them and using a comparison that they are able to understand which we can also easily understand. "Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously." You notice he doesn’t say anything about in between the sowing and the reaping. Paul just says that those who sow sparingly will reap a little bit. Those who sow generously will reap a lot. He doesn’t say anything about the growing, because God would take care of that and God does. The original word for "generous" means he is the one who sows with a blessing in mind and is going to reap from a blessing. That is what God says to these believers. They were different than you and I, because really they spent their day-to-day living just providing food and clothing. That was all they had time for. He reminded them to plant and it will be provided for you.
Paul goes on and tells them that there is more to life than food and clothing: "And God is able to make all grace abound to you." So not only would he provide for them in their day-to-day living, but God is able to make all grace abound to them. God goes beyond what they could see. God goes beyond what they can plant and grow. He goes to the fact that they are saved by grace through faith. He tells them: "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need." He provides all that they need. God was thinking specifically of divine blessings--grace, mercy, love, peace, patience, joy, forgiveness and the list goes on. This grace of God was also to put their minds at ease, so they would not worry about their day-to-day living.
Then Paul quotes from the Old Testament from the Psalms: "As it is written: ’He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.’" God provides the gifts. He is the cheerful giver and generous giver who provides and scatters his gifts abroad. The righteousness of God is a gift, too. It lasts forever. If these words from Paul were not enough, or if the quotation from the Psalm were not enough, he gives them a guarantee. Paul adds: "Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. They would harvest God’s blessings. They were reminded of Isaiah when he said: "He provides rain and snow from the heavens to provide seed for the sower and bread for the eater." There would be enough for seed and enough for food to eat. This is one of God’s miracles. God will increase their seed in order to reap a generous harvest. This is again referring God’s righteousness, his blessed love and care and concern for them. Their God was a cheerful giver.