You’ve probably heard about sowing and reaping before — perhaps you’ve heard it called “karma,” or have repeated the common saying that “what goes around comes around.” Our society seems to be aware of this principle in a general sense, but it is most clearly stated in the Bible. Galatians 6:7-8 makes it easy to understand: We always reap what we sow. We always get what we give. We will be treated in the same way that we have treated others. It’s a universal law, just as solid as the Law of Gravity. Whatever goes out must come back.
Sowing and reaping can profoundly impact many areas of life; for those of us seeking to use our money according to God’s wisdom, it has huge implications. The Law of Sowing and Reaping turns us into great givers.
Giving generously is a key component in God’s Master Plan for our financial lives. God wants us to give in order to bless people around us, and to help advance the work of His kingdom on the earth. There are lots of great causes out there that need our help, and our love for people should motivate us to give what we can to support them.
Though giving is a reward in itself, there’s a second great benefit to generosity: It activates the Law of Sowing and Reaping in our lives. Let’s take a look at II Cor. 9:6-8.
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
In this passage, Paul is encouraging the Corinthians to give in order to help provide for some of the other churches that He worked with. He invokes the Law of Sowing and Reaping in his request. There are three key things that we can learn from this:
1. When we give, we are sowing into the Kingdom, and we will reap from the Kingdom.
God doesn’t ask us to give our money, time or resources in a way that will deplete or burden us. God is a giver and a blesser, and he always takes the things that we give and grows them into something greater. Giving is not meant to be a hardship; rather, it’s a help — giving from our resources will help to grow our resources, because we always reap what we sow. And when we sow those resources into the Kingdom, we will reap a reward from that same Kingdom.
We also reap according to what we sow. So the more that we’re willing to give, the more we can look forward to God bringing in a harvest.
2. We must give with the right attitude.
Since the Law of Sowing and Reaping promises that we enjoy the fruit of our giving later on, it’s tempting to give just so that we can receive. But that’s not how it works. Even though God promises that we’ll reap when we sow, giving is about helping others and advancing the Kingdom — it’s not an investment scheme. That’s why Paul mentions the importance of being “cheerful givers.” If you sow just so that you’ll reap later, that’s not generosity… it’s really just selfishness masquerading as charity. The attitude of the heart matters more than the quantity of the gift itself.
3. The purpose of reaping is to make us greater givers.
Putting the notion of “giving-to-get” to rest is the fact that God intends for the harvest we reap to make us even greater givers. The end of the passage tells us that God blesses us abundantly so that we will “abound in every good work.” In other words, the whole reason that we seek to reap is so that we can sow even more later on. We are blessed to be a blessing.
When we give, we demonstrate to God that we desire in our hearts to use His resources to advance His purposes. God brings us increase not because we deserve it or because we’re entitled to it, but because He knows that He can trust us to give even more abundantly.
Sowing and reaping can be a powerful motivator for giving. But as we give, we must make sure that our hearts are in the right place. In the end, it’s a cycle of sowing, reaping and sowing again that glorifies God above anything that we do for ourselves.
Photo by Nigel Wedge. Used under Creative Commons License.