Sunday, March 20, 2022

Sowing and Reaping Is Not About Gaining Financial Prosperity, But Rather Helping Others

First, I don't want anyone to read into what I'm about to say, thinking that I'm against being financially wealthy or prosperous in this world. Go for it, if you're able to make a lot of money and have a lot of stuff or do a lot of things!

So with that said, that's not what sowing and reaping is about. In the famous chapter on sowing and reaping, 2 Corinthians 9, it says nothing about sowing so that you will reap wealth and prosperity for yourself. Now again, I want to say that there's nothing wrong with being financially or materially wealthy or prosperous! But that's not Paul's message in 2 Corinthians 9. Not one time does he encourage a person to sow/give for the purpose of reaping and abundance for themselves. 

Each time, he says that the abundance is for the sake of others. Look at how he begins: "Now concerning the ministering to the saints..." Right off the bat, he's writing about the Corinthian people ministering to others. In verse 5, Paul talks about their gift to the saints being a matter of generosity and not grudging obligation. 

Then in verse 6 he says that "he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully." This sole verse, taken way out of context, has been the source of many people teaching that "sowing" generously causes God to bring wealth and prosperity to people, so they can live comfortably in this world. Once again - nothing wrong with living comfortably or being rich - but that's not what Paul is saying! Read on. 

"So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work." (2 Cor 9:7-8) 

The abundance that comes from God's grace abounding toward them is not given as a means of providing an abundant lifestyle for themselves, but rather for them to be able to do the good work involved in ministering to others. Paul then quotes from the OT a verse that shows how God has given to the poor. This comes from Him providing grace to people so that they may have an abundance "for every good work," which is ministering to the poor saints. 

In verse 10 Paul says God supplies seed to the sower. Where does this supply come from? Paul has already told us. It's through God's grace that He has made to abound toward them. And what is this seed to be used for? It's to "increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving to God." They are "enriched in everything," not for their own comfort, but so that they can give liberally. What they have sown is for the benefit of others (those they give/minister to), and as God enriches them in everything, it causes liberality in their giving... and it causes thanksgiving to God! 

So far in this passage, there is nothing said about them sowing for the purpose of reaping God's blessings to make themselves prosperous for their own sakes... but rather for the sake of others. And it continues that way. 

Verse 12: "For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God..." Once again, their generous sowing is not for themselves, but for supplying the needs of the poor saints that they are giving to. In the very next verse (13) Paul again says that their ministry (sowing for the needs of the saints) brings about those saints glorifying God "for your liberal sharing with them and with all men." 

Sowing and reaping is not about giving to get something from God! It's about giving for the benefit of others, so that their needs may be met, and so that there may be much good fruit, and then thanksgiving to God, who is the one who, through His grace, supplies the seed in the first place. 

One more time... this isn't an "anti-wealth" message. Be free to be wealthy if you're able! But sowing and reaping is not about becoming wealthy. It's about helping others.

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