Stop Doing What Doesn't Work

Giving becomes sowing.

2 Corinthians 8 and 9 are entirely about giving.  Prior to mentioning “sowing” Paul declares that what he is talking about is giving.

(2 Corinthians 9:5 AMP) “That is why I thought it necessary to urge these brethren to go to you before I do and make arrangements in advance for this bountiful, promised gift of yours, so that it may be ready, not as an extortion [wrung out of you] but as a generous and willing gift.

Paul is writing to remind the Corinthians of the gift they promised for the persecuted Saints in Jerusalem.  He wanted to remind them but he also wanted to give them time to prepare their gift so that it would be a willing gift.  Giving thought out in advance is a willing gift.

Paul then tells the Corinthians what will happen when they give.

(2 Corinthians 9:6–7 AMP) “[Remember] this: he who sows sparingly and grudgingly will also reap sparingly and grudgingly, and he who sows generously [that blessings may come to someone] will also reap generously and with blessings. Let each one [give] as he has made up his own mind and purposed in his heart, not reluctantly or sorrowfully or under compulsion, for God loves (He takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to abandon or to do without) a cheerful (joyous, “prompt to do it”) giver [whose heart is in his giving].

In this scripture Paul is saying that giving will result in the same way that sowing does.  He is using the principle of sowing and reaping to illustrate what will happen when you give.

A person that gives “that blessings may come to someone” is thinking about the person they are giving to rather than what they will receive as a result.  A farmer who sows seed does not do that.  The farmer is sowing only for his harvest.  Paul is not talking about farming - he is talking about giving.

Paul also declares that God is unwilling to do without a “giver whose heart is in his giving.”  His subject is giving, not sowing.  God is looking for a person who’s heart is in his giving - not in his harvesting.  The attitude and purpose of the heart is critical.  The same action of money leaving our hand and going to another is determined to be either giving or sowing for self based upon intention.  God is looking for givers, not sowers.

Paul uses the natural law of sowing and reaping to communicate what will happen when we become givers.  Everyone knows that when a seed is planted it produces more of the same but multiplied.  This is what will happen to those whose heart is in their giving.  It is not a promise that those who sow for themselves will receive a harvest for themselves because the subject is giving, sowing and reaping is only used as an illustration much like a parable.

The natural law of sowing and reaping is always used as an illustration like a parable.

Paul continues the illustration of sowing.

(2 Corinthians 9:10–11 ESV) “He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.

The context is still giving and that is born out not only in verse 11 in speaking about being generous, but throughout the rest of the chapter.  God blesses a person to be generous, and generosity is giving.  The definition of “generous” is: showing a readiness to give more of something. The KJV uses the word “bountifulness” and it is defined as: without self-seeking, generosity (copious bestowal).  There should be no question that the subject is giving.

What if a person is not generous?  Then he would not be a giver.  What if a person is sowing only for himself to increase?  Then he would not be a giver.   Remember, Jesus told a parable in Luke 12 that I mentioned in the beginning of this article about a rich man that sowed only for himself and died as a result.  God is not impressed with sowers, He is impressed with givers.

What is the harvest for giving?

The Bible tells us exactly what we will harvest for our giving, and it is not exactly the thing that was sown.  Here are a few scriptures telling us what we will harvest.

(2 Corinthians 9:8 ESV) “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

(2 Corinthians 9:10–11 ESV) “He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.

There is no need to try to make the Bible say something that it doesn’t.  There is no mention of a financial harvest for giving money.  However, “all grace”, “all sufficiency and “enriched in every way would certainly include money - but is in no way limited to money or focused on money.  Focusing on money as the harvest is inaccurate and misleading because the Bible speaks of more than money.  The harvest revealed in the above scriptures is also better than money.  “All grace” will do things that money can never do.

Also, it needs to be mentioned that the above scriptures each indicate the purpose of the harvest - “abound in every good work and “to be generous (a giver) in every way. There is no mention of personal accumulation as the purpose for giving or the harvest for giving, although God blesses true givers and they will accumulate.

Are we sons or servants?

I am not in agreement with the idea that an action is required on our part in order to have God provide for us, and I will not respond to that type of ministry.  Even in natural thinking that idea is rejected.

(Matthew 7:11 ESV) “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Jesus made a natural comparison of a father providing for his children.  We are the children of God!  Jesus said that our Father will MUCH MORE give good things to those that ask Him.  ASK Him.

Can you imagine a father who has a large kitchen full of food and his son approaches him and asks him for some food.  The father then says, “I’ll tell you what son, if you will sow a seed into my retirement account, I will open the cupboards and give you some food.  As you know, my retirement account is good ground to sow into.”  Personally, I would put that father in jail for neglect.

Often when we teach, we illustrate the fact that the same sacrifice provided salvation, the baptism of the Holy Spirit and healing.  Each are received by faith as a gift.  We have done nothing for these things except believe in what God provided through His grace.

The sacrifice that provided salvation for us also provided for our natural needs in this life.  There is no scripture that tells us that in order for God to provide for us that we need to sow a seed first.  We do need to believe for it, just like we believe in His grace for salvation.

A son has a right to be provided for by virtue of his birthright.  We are heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus.

(Romans 8:16–17 ESV) “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirsheirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

An heir has an inheritance (Ephesians 1).  To inherit by definition means:  To receive as an heir at the death of the previous holder; come into possession from someone else. We have an inheritance that is received because of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ.  We do not have to DO something for it.

A father writes a will before he dies declaring his son as sole heir of all of his possessions.  The man dies.  The son finds the will and discovers that a million dollars is on deposit at the bank.  The son goes to the bank, shows them the will and asks for his money.  The banks says to the heir, “I’ll tell you what, if you sow a big seed to me I will give you some of your inheritance.

This is as ridiculous as most of the teaching on finances today.  Declaring that we must sow seed to obtain our inheritance is promoting a doctrine of works. We are sons of God and we have an inheritance. As I travel the world ministering on finances I can easily see that Christians are fatigued with this type of financial ministry because it is not working.  It does work for the ministers though, but for how much longer?

Do we need God to prosper financially?

Recently Bill Gates became the wealthiest man in the world and he does not serve God.  Carlos Slim of Mexico is the second wealthiest man in the world and he does not serve God.  The list goes on. By observation it is easy to see that the people in the world have more money than God’s children.  They do it without God and they do it without sowing seeds for it.  Then, we come along and tell Christians that they must sow seeds for God to prosper them financially.

Here is what the Bible says about wealthy people that do not serve God.

(Psalms 73:1–5 ESV) “Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For they have no pangs until death; their bodies are fat and sleek. They are not in trouble as others are; they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.

(Psalms 73:16–19 ESV) “But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end. Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin. How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors!

The people in the world can prosper financially without God.  Their end is eternal punishment for rejection of God.  Can Biblical prosperity be defined first with salvation and eternal life?  The Bible does say that as we give we will “increase the harvest of your righteousness.” (2Cor. 9:10)

Tithes and Offerings from God’s Viewpoint.

God views our contributions in a different way than we often do.  God is always first looking at our heart.

(Malachi 1:6 ESV) “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the LORD of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?

The people in Malachi’s day were bringing tithes and offerings but not “the best” as was commanded (Numbers 18:12). The priests were allowing this to happen and the book of Malachi is a rebuke to the ministers because of it.

This is very important to understand.  The people were in fact bringing tithes and offerings.  However, God saw their actions as dishonor because they had kept the best for themselves.  Even though they brought an offering, God challenges them with “where is my honor?” and “where is my fear?

The substance of tithes and offering never reaches God in heaven.  All of the substance contributed was put into storehouses and then distributed to the priests as their inheritance.  What reaches God in heaven is our honor and our reverence - two things far more important than the substance offered.  The quality, not quantity, of the substance only reflects the honor within us.

The tithe is a percentage and not an amount.  Because it is a percentage, every human, rich or poor, can honor God equally with their best.  This fact is another proof that God is interested in what is in our heart.

Honor and reverence in tithes and offerings is what God blesses.  If it were simply seed sown that God blesses, honor and reverence could easily be absent from the contributor, and it often is.  For many, sowing seed is simply a business transaction to increase themselves.

Why is giving so important?

Because the entire Kingdom of God is built upon giving.  Every aspect of the Kingdom of God in the earth involves giving - from spreading the Gospel, feeding the poor, to establishing the local church.  God is the first giver and has thereby set a president that is to be observed in every aspect of the Kingdom.  Our salvation came through God’s giving.

Giving does many things.  God blesses givers because they are partnering with Kingdom operations.  God needs givers because Kingdom accomplishment in the earth depends upon it.  Without giving, Kingdom causes can not be fulfilled.

I don’t believe God is interested in people sowing for themselves.  A son does not sow seed so that the Father will feed him. Neither does the son sow seed in order to receive an inheritance from his father.

The season the Body of Christ has been in needs to change.  Time is short.  Our focus needs to be upon other people and Kingdom business.

I believe with all of my heart that God wants to turn the hearts of His people to be towards giving.  God needs, and is looking for, givers who's heart is in their giving. Those that turn toward giving will see many things fulfilled in their lives and ministries.

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