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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW

2 Corinthians 9:6-7 But this I say, he which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give, not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

Although this message from Paul to the church at Corinth was designed to encourage them to give liberally to relieve the poverty in Judea, it certainly has a much broader application to all Christian charity. Charity is often looked upon as a sacrifice; giving up a portion of one's wealth, however small it may be, is considered to be sacrificial in its very nature - it depletes that which could be used to sustain one's self, as well as reducing that which could be passed on to heirs. However, the lesson text corrects this mistaken premise. Charity, if extended cheerfully, and not grudgingly, is not a sacrifice, but it is a sowing of seed that will sprout, take root, grow, mature, and result in a bountiful harvest. It only takes a general knowledge in agriculture for one to conclude that planting corn kernels 4 inches apart will result in a much greater yield than planting the seeds three feet apart. To plant sparingly results in a spare crop, but to plant bountifully will yield a bountiful crop. Paul wrote to the churches of Galatia, whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap (Gal. 6:7b). The seeds planted multiply and yield a harvest much greater that the amount planted. The lesson text tells us that this truth also applies to all acts of charity.

The wisdom of Solomon establishes this as factual. He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will He pay him again (Prov. 19:17). He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor (Prov. 22:9). Solomon continues this instruction in Ecclesiastes by writing, cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days (Eccl. 11:1). Regarding charitable giving, consider this teaching of Jesus to His disciples during, His ministry on earth. He instructed them to give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again (Luke 6:38). This assurance you and I have from God. He will not forget your work and labor of love, which ye have showed toward His name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister (Heb. 6:10).

In Psalm 112:9, we find this inspired teaching, he hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honor. Here we find the person having the charitable attitude that God desires in His children. He freely and cheerfully disperses that which the Lord has given him to assist those that are less fortunate. God says that these acts of righteousness will last forever - they will be treasures laid up in heaven, and, while on earth, he will prosper. The person described here is said to be one that feareth the Lord, that delighteth greatly in His commandments (Psalm 112:1). This assures us that, indeed, God blesses those that unselfishly share that which He has given them - that over which they are stewards while living here on earth. Paul quotes this scripture in verse 9, following the lesson text in order to confirm his own encouragement to the church at Corinth, regarding their charitable attitude toward benevolence to others that are in need. By inspiration, the apostle Peter gave us a very good lesson, on the subject of giving, when he wrote, And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God (1 Peter 4:8-10).

From the beginning of creation, God has given mankind seed of all kinds. When planted, these seeds multiply and yield sufficient crops. When harvested, they will supply the planter with three benefits. (1) He will receive enough food to sustain himself, (2) he will reveive enough seed to replant during the next season for sowing, and (3) he will receive enough seed, however little or much, to share with fellow Christians and others in need. For all three benefits, we should sincerely thank God daily. But the first two sustain life here on earth and are beneficial only to ourselves. It is only through the third benefit (what God gives us over and above that needed to sustain ourselves) that we will be given spiritual blessings to sustain our souls in eternity. How we use this over supply God entrusts to us, demonstrates our love for God and our love for our neighbor - both of which God requires of His children. This truth God assures each of us: You Reap What You Sow!