“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-8
Throughout this week, I had spent a few extra hours of my time setting up some appointments for this afternoon with the intent of blessing some families who were scheduled to come out to our farm. The only problem with all my planning through was that none of my three separate appointments showed up today. Instead, I ended up having an appointment this afternoon I had not even spent time planning, and the tables were turned to bring blessings instead into my life. The one who was desiring to bless, became the one who was instead blessed.
All of this giving and receiving to bring about blessings on this Sabbath day got me to thinking about what I should be learning about how the Sabbath is related to our calling to be givers and receivers within the body of Christ.
In 2 Corinthians 9 we learn that the degree in which we “sow” we in turn will “reap”. That is, the degree in which we give, we will receive. Furthermore, it is from the heart that all our giving is measured. When we give with the sole intent to give and bless with no strings attached, God is pleased with our giving. And within that pleasure God is able to work into our lives a greater grace towards us because He desires to fill the void we have created in giving from ourselves. And to top it off, He desires to add even more surplus to our supply so we can give in an even greater way the next time.
Think of it this way: Say I had a small amount of money saved up the bank, and every time I chose to take some of that money and freely give it to a charity the bank supported, I in turn would receive a dividend from the bank for not only the amount of my giving but also with a bit extra interest to boot. It sounds ridiculous doesn't it? No bank in their right mind would operate this way because they would be losing money left and right. But God does not see His investment in our giving as a losing deal and He is ready to reward us for giving from our hearts cheerfully.
In the past I have often viewed my Sabbath days from a very selfish perspective. I was always on the look-out to find ways that I could find rest for myself and at times became rather grumpy when all of my ideas to bring about my selfish plans fell apart before my eyes. But, today I came to the realization that the more I pursued rest and blessings for myself on these days (or really any other day), the less likely I would be in finding them. Only in my willingness to freely give of the rest I desired would I find the rest and blessings I was looking to fill my life to a greater degree.
I know it sounds backwards, but yet more of what God tells us and then reveals to us through our lives work out this way. Finding rest means willingly giving that rest away in the expectation that God will make up for all our needs in greater ways than we could ever engineer on our own. We cannot know what those blessings will look like on the obedient cheerful giving end and that is where faith and trust have to pull us through. All we have to do is be willing to give when we are asked and then wait with great expectation for the grace God subsequently extends into our life as a result of our giving. It truly is greater to give than receive when God is maintaining the balance in our giving account.