For God is the one who gives seed to the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, He will give you many opportunities to do good, and He will produce a great harvest of generosity in you. Yes, you will be enriched so that you can give even more generously. – 2 Cor 9:10-11a NLT
Mrs. Bartos was wrong!
Mrs. Bartos was my second grade teacher. She taught me that if Johnny has 6 apples and he gives 4 of them away he has 2 apples left. I learned Mrs. Bartos’ lessons well and excelled at math. At the time, I didn’t think to ask her if she considered 2 Cor. 9 when she made her assertion about Johnny’s fruits. It was probably a good thing I didn’t. Because I was the kind of obnoxious kid that would have insisted that based on God’s math, the number of apples Johnny had left was closer to 37 than to 2.
Paul is telling us that when we are cheerful givers, we are “enriched so that we can give even more generously.” I have had real-life experience with seeing God provide when I have given with a glad heart. Sad to say, I have also seen the opposite. When, out of fear, I have held back my generosity, I have even less to give. There seems to be two competing principles here at work.
- The poverty principle states “Hoard what you have, lest you be left with little.”
- The prosperity principle states “Give cheerfully from what you have and it will be multiplied in return.”
It reminds me of the difference between small-pie people and big-pie people as described in Ken Blanchard’s book, Gung Ho. Blanchard writes:
“… some people are small-pie people. They spend their whole lives convinced there is only so much pie to go around. They sit down at the table and start to fight over who gets what, worried someone else is getting more than their share. They love boundaries and fence posts to protect their territory. Big-pie people assume there’s lots for everybody. More than enough. They’ve got an expanding pie. They trust anyone in the family to divide up the pie. No need for fences when the field is bigger than everyone could possibly need.”
Lord, thank you that we serve a “big-pie” God; one who wishes to lavish his blessings on us when we generously provide for a needy world.
from the archives, March 10, 2010