Monday, June 30, 2014

2 Corinthians 9:6-8 -- On Giving Bountifully

"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.
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:"
2 Corinthians 9:6-8

What we send out, or give, or plant in this life all returns to us, as we learn in many other scriptures (Proverbs 19:17, Alma 41:15, etc.), and here we learn that like many other principles in the gospel, the blessings are returned to us in the same degree in which we offer them.  If we give just a little, then God will give just a little in return.  And if we give a lot, we will get a lot.  This isn't of course to say that if we give $15.98, we'll get 15.98 back.  It's not an accounting principle.  What we give and what comes back might not be money in either case.  We might give service and receive faith.  We might give money and receive peace.  We might give time, and get exactly the money we needed for something important.  God "pays" us immediately for whatever obedience we offer (Mosiah 2:24), but in general the more we give, the better the blessing.  I'm sure adjusted for what it is worth to us.  Remember the widow's mite... and although her offering was monetarily less than pretty much anyone else's... it was more to Christ, because it was all she had (Mark 12:44).
God loveth a cheerful giver. :)  Whatever obedience we offer, whether monetary or otherwise, let's not do it because we *have to.*  With some principles maybe it is okay to start out that way.  Perhaps we avoid drugs because we are told to in the beginning, and over time we learn of the pain and the suffering that God has helped us to avoid because of that obedience... and then our obedience turns into something more willing, and more thankful.  And we are obeying joyfully, happy that God helped us avoid those traps.  ... But even with things that start out that way, they can't stay that way forever. We can't be bitter about following God or enduring to the end all through our lives... otherwise, what good has it done?  We haven't changed at all.  We went the whole time believing that our way was better *anyway* and being mad at God for not letting us have what we wanted.  That doesn't really sound like a broken heart and a contrite spirit.  Just kind of resentful-teenager... and if we do that, then we probably get the resentful teenager reward, which I don't think I even want to know about.  Part of the process is learning to be happy with what we are choosing... to do it all cheerfully.  Which I think means learning and seeing the purpose behind it and understanding God on a completely different level than as a totalitarian parent.
This last verse just floors me because I think it points out the things that we don't remember at all when we are giving.  We think, wow, I might not have enough, or worry about our time, or the level of effort or whether the person we are serving "deserves it" or not.  ... And here God is basically saying, listen, you're worrying about the wrong things.  Have some faith.  Give, and serve, and do all the good works, because I have enough power to take care of you, and provide for your needs.  ... I don't think that means he is going to give us the 20 million dollar mansion and the latest Jaguar if we empty our bank accounts for the homeless.  We still need to have some wisdom about our choices, provide for our families, and recognize that having enough doesn't mean being a zillionaire. :)  But on some level, probably equal to our faith, as we give we will in the same measure receive... and if God is taking care of us, we'll have better than a mansion and a cool car.  We'll have love, and purpose, and joy, and I don't think that we will feel any lack at all.

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