September 25: Sowing and Reaping

2 Corinthians 9:6. The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

Greed is by far one of the most deadly sins. Mostly because greed is so hard to recognize in our own lives. It is “everybody else’s problem.” If you commit sexual sin it’s pretty obvious to you, but if you’re greedy you may not even realize it.

To be greedy is to be a hoarder. To hold on to what you have. But Paul (and all of the rest of the Bible) encourages us to be givers. To share. To sow bountifully. Giving is meant to be an act of grace. Often in our hearts it is an act of law. A way to earn favor with God or keep him in your debt.

Wealth is such a powerful force in our lives. No matter how much money you have or don’t have, you are always in danger of pursuing the idolatry of wealth. Wealth itself is not the problem. In fact, God made humanity to be wealthy. He created an abundant planet full of all kinds of things that were meant to make us prosperous. But like everything else, sin has corrupted wealth. Wealth, like every other good thing, is alluring to us. We see it as that thing that can provide us with the security and status that we long for. All of us see money in one of these two ways, or both. It is either the way you feel safe. Or it is the way you feel important.

But when you are in Christ, his cross becomes your security and your status. I am secure in Christ. I am important in Christ. Jesus was sown into the ground so that he could reap the harvest of us. He sowed bountifully and reaped bountifully. Now, “to live is Christ” means we share the greatest treasure in the universe – Jesus. He is our wealth. The seed of his life has been sown into us bountifully by his grace. I no longer have to give in order to feel good. I give because I already feel good because I am in Christ.

This will radically change how you live. There is now no reason to hold on to your stuff. Holding on to what God has given you hurts you and the community you live in. The gifts of God are meant to be shared. This includes actual money, but also resources, ideas, and creativity. We are meant to share all of it. Even selling our products is a way to share. God is not telling us to literally give away everything we have, or everything we create, or that we have to do everything for free. To offer your gifts and talents in exchange for a fair price IS a form of sharing and sowing. To sit around being lazy, withholding your gifts and abilities, is a form of hoarding. To hold on to your spiritual knowledge, to avoid making disciples, is to sow sparingly.

Here is the truth of our union with Christ and the principle of sowing and reaping: if you sow bountifully you will reap bountifully. This includes your money, time, resources, creativity, ideas, knowledge, and grace. But here’s the catch. You have to do it from grace. As soon as you think “I’ll give so that I can get,” well, you just lost the battle. You just became a hoarder.

This is why Christ tells us that our harvest is in eternity, not here in the present. His is too. His harvest is you. But he doesn’t fully have you until that day when he brings us home. We too have Christ, but not fully. We have the life of Christ in us spiritually. The life of Christ is the life of Jesus. The life of sacrifice, and sorrow, and suffering, and dying in order to live. When we live from grace in order to give our lives away, we will find a harvest of spiritual blessing. We will find joy in the sorrow. We will find life when we lose it. We will find treasure in lives changed. We will find that “to live is Christ” is to constantly share every part of our lives with others to the glory of God and the good of all.

Is greed a problem for you (if you instinctively answer “no” start over)? Does wealth tend to be your security or your significance? In what ways have you seen the principle of sowing and reaping in your life? How does your union with Christ make Christ and his cross power for your sowing and reaping?

 

 

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