“Now I say this, he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall reap bountifully.” 2 Corinthians 9:6
I am sad to see the winter go, but I do enjoy being able to plant a garden in the spring. I started my tomato, pepper and flower seeds several weeks ago in our greenhouse. I planted a few Roma tomatoes. Why? Well it is simple; we wanted some Roma Tomatoes to be able to can. I couldn’t plant a pack of zinnia seeds and expect to get any tomatoes. Flowers don’t quite taste the same in spaghetti sauce. I also planted a few banana and jalapeno peppers. Personally I like their taste over the taste of cucumbers and cantaloupes in our salsa, but that is just me. You see I knew what I wanted to reap or harvest, so that is what I planted.
In our verse, the Apostle Paul is encouraging the Church at Corinth to support mission work. He was telling them about a great need that the Church in Jerusalem had, and he thought that they would want to help. They lived in a prosperous city and had many of the blessings of life and Paul wanted to see them be a blessing to someone else. He was explaining to them that they could not hold back God’s blessings for themselves and expect God to continue to bless them.
Reaping and sowing is one of the simplest concepts in the Bible. Most children can understand it .Yet it is often the most ignored. Anything that we put our time, money, energy, effort or focus on is an act of sowing. Reaping on the other hand is the results or the consequences of what we have sown. Good or bad, we will reap what we sow. Stinginess with resources or time should never be a part of a Christians walk. Many of God’s children are guilty of sowing their money sparingly toward God’s work, but they will spend it generously toward their wants.
Paul is not only reminding the Corinthian Church but us also that God will only continue to pour out His blessings on the faithful believers.
Reaping and sowing doesn’t only apply to our finances. “He who sows wickedness reaps trouble…. A generous man will himself be blessed.” Proverbs 22: 8-9a. We are reminded that the decisions that we make also have results or consequences. With every word that we say, every thought that we have and every action that we take we are sowing seed. Good or bad. If you want God’s hand on you, sow righteousness to those around you. If you want God to bless you, be a blessing to others. If you want God to encourage you, be an encouragement to someone else. But if you want calamity, live like the world. If you want distress, sow seeds of pain. If you want a life of thorns and snares, treat others less than the way that you would want to be treated. Scripture is clear. The choice is yours.
“Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another, just as you are doing.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Recently my wife and I went shopping for some new flowers for our yard. We looked over aisles and aisles of flowers and shrubs. There was every color, shape and size to pick from.
Then my wife led me over to what seemed to be hundreds of different colors of mulch to put around our new flowers. I guess it makes sense, new flowers, new mulch?
It only took a few minutes to have our cart loaded down. I think the front wheels must have been bending because, it had gotten to the point that it was hard to steer.
We then stood in a single line with everyone else in the store because the other line was tied up with someone who had ran back to get one more plant. Oh, I cannot forget to mention how hot it was! We were standing in line in the heat to pay and then having to load my truck with the sun beating down on us, was not my idea of fun.
Now as we are leaving the parking lot and I am dodging cars that are pulling out of parking spaces without looking, when my wife notices something. There just a few yards in front of us is a little mouse running across the parking lot. Not only is he running across the blistering hot asphalt, but he has a bird repeatedly diving after him!
All of a sudden my problems don’t seem so serious. When I stop and think about what that little guy is facing, I should be ashamed of allowing myself to focus on my petty problems. My trivial matters were nothing compared to his.
In this verse, the Apostle Paul is encouraging the believers in Thessalonica during their difficulties. Earlier in Chapter 1 verse 2, he told them, “We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers.”
Paul is uplifting the church. They are going through some difficult times. Persecution is on the rise and many Christians were being tempted to fall away from the faith.
And even though Paul has faced and is still facing many problems of his own, beatings, attempts on his life, a ship wreck, and imprisonment, just to name a few he still wanted to encourage other believers. He knew the importance of not feeling sorry for himself. He knew that he had the responsibility to stand behind his brothers and sisters in Christ and support them spiritually.
Don’t allow the trials in your life to blind you from those that are around you and are in need. It is easy to feel down when things in our life aren’t going the way that we think that they should, but look around you. Look at who could use your support or encouraging word. You won’t have to look long to find a fellow believer that needs someone to remind them of the love of God.
No matter what is going on in your own life, find someone to encourage. God will bless you through it.
"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." --Romans 12:2
Being outside has provided me with the blessing of seeing and experiencing many of God’s creatures. There is a great joy when I walk out to the pasture in the morning and see that a calf was born over night. It still amazes me to see how a first-time mother knows how to care for her calf. Only God could have taught her that. Or when I see a humming bird at the feeder and think about how small he is but how many thousands of miles he travels every year. God is surely a creative God.
Now I want to move onto another of God’s creatures that many of you, myself included, had rather not see or experience: snakes. Recently, I was walking across the yard when I saw something different crawling across the mulch. It was a green snake. I see quite a few snakes each year, particularly around the chicken house, but it is very rare for me to see a green snake.
After seeing it, I did a little research and found out that green snakes are one of the more common snakes in North Carolina. I thought that odd, since I had seen so very few of them. The problem is they blend in. When they are crawling through the green grass or through a shrub, they are hard to spot because they blend in so well.
Many Christians have the same problem; they blend in with the world. They have conformed and no longer stand out or stand up for Christ. As Paul is writing to the Church in Rome he is encouraging them to be different, to be Christ-like. The problem wasn’t a shortage of Christians. The problem was that Christians were acting, talking and living like everyone else!
God has called us to be different. Once we have Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, there is suppose to be a change in us. This change not only affects the inside of us but the outside as well. We are called to be light and salt to this world. We are supposed to stand out and make a difference.
This is one of the reasons that our society is in the bad shape that it is in: too many Christians are living like the world. If we ever want to see our community change, it is going to take God’s people living the way Jesus did, standing up for what God says is right, helping the needy and reaching out to the lost.
Ask yourself this: Can the people around you tell that you are a Christian? Are you living differently than the world? Paul encourages us to not conform to this world but to be transformed through Christ.