Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously … God loves a cheerful giver. And 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 … 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. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. (verses 6-11)
Paul is describing the perpetual motion of generosity, a cycle that is fueled by the rich grace of God himself.
Enter into generosity, Paul says, just like a Middle-Eastern farmer who scatters seed bountifully on the land, tossing it far and wide, trusting for a plentiful harvest. The more you scatter – the more you give – the more will be returned to you at harvest-time. But if, on the other hand, you’re stingy when scattering seed, you’re going to get a very meager return. Meager indeed.
So give richly – “hilariously” as the text says (that’s the literal meaning of the word “cheerful”). The interesting thing about the coming bounty is that it overflows so that we ourselves “will abound in every good work.” In other words, we’re not to keep it, hording it away. No. We’re meant to spend it again, lavishly, by doing good. And these good works will further overflow into a harvest of righteousness, God’s own goodness being revealed in our lives, the richness continuing to flow.
Here, then, is the perpetual cycle. Generously give so that you may generously receive, so that you may give again through good works, so that righteousness may increase. The promise is that we will be rich in every way so that we may be generous on every occasion. And all of it is to result in thanksgiving to God.
Glorify God and enjoy him forever. That’s what the Catechism identifies as the chief end of man. That’s what we see here – rich abundance, for rich giving, for overflow of good works, for the glory of God himself.
So be hilarious with your generosity. Use your time for the good of others. Sacrifice as Christ did for us. Take your goods and resources and money, spending them to generously pour out blessing on those around, just like the Lord. And as you receive the rich reward, in thanksgiving and joy and relationship and further resources, use it all once again for good works to bless and encourage – bringing glory to God.
Lord Jesus, once again I thank you that you who were rich became poor for my sake, so that I through your poverty might become rich. Thank you that you call me into that same generosity of giving. Give me eyes to see the opportunities you are opening before me. Give me hilarity and freedom to enter into these open doorways – with my time, with my money, with my love. For your glory. Amen.
Reflect: What is one act of giving in which you could engage today, allowing you to step further into this hilarious cycle of generosity?