[DISCLAIMER: This blog in no way 'guarantees' reaping, nor will I address the issue of the attitude behind giving. However, if you have been giving to the church in order to receive and NOT because you want to help further God's kingdom, I suggest reading 2 Corinthians chapter 9]
Some of you out there have heard of sowing & reaping from a Biblical standpoint. Others of you may believe in karma (which is based on the Biblical teaching). For those of you who are clueless, let me fill you in:
You reap what you sow.
Are you angry and verbally abusive toward others? Be the bigger man - show patience and love. You'll see it come back to you. [Besides, have you ever noticed that the people you yell at tend to yell back at you? Reaping what you're sowing!]
Have you ever noticed those really, really nice people who can get anyone to do anything for them with a smile and a kind word? The smiles and kindness they sow into other people's live are being returned to them.
But here's the more challenging question, the sowing with which people struggle...the financial sowing. Is it possible to give away money and receive it back? Well, let me try to explain.
2 Corinthians 9:6 [New Living Translation]
"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously."
Now, this entire chapter is about giving, especially financially. I am not going to debate the amount if money people should give, but I will share my experiences with sowing and reaping.
First, my husband and I tithe everyweek (that is, we give a percentage of our income back to the God...I believe a tithe to begin at 10% of your income, though God may move you to give more). Now, bills pile up and things happen and it can become VERY easy to forget to write that check, so I made it easy: Our tithe check is the FIRST check we write as soon as we receive our paychecks. (It's also a Biblical principle to give God your 'first fruit' and not your leftovers, so we want to honor that). How does it work to pay our bills then? It truly is a miracle.
When Matt went through chemotherapy we received disability checks...for half the amount of what he normally made. Regardless, we wrote out our tithe check every two weeks, giving much needed money back to God. How did it work out? I ended up with a long-term subbing job, then all of my other days filled up, then a friend paid me to help him at work one weekend. I went from subbing 2-3 days a week for the 06-07 school year to subbing 4-5 days a week this year. My long-term job bumped me into a higher pay scale, so anytime I sub for that teacher I make $4 more an hour. Through the entire time Matt was off work we NEVER missed a payment, we never went without and we didn't go into debt.
Now, that's great, but I know some people wouldn't exactly consider more work an answer to prayer. Well, I'd like to give you another example:
Last month on top of our tithe Matt & I gave a substantial amount of money to our church to help build a church building in Equador for a pastor with whom we are partnering and supporting. This amount of money was not in our budget, nor was it readily available. However, we knew how much God wanted us to give, and we did. Here's what happened:
- We had "utility" problems at home. The service guy came. His time and help was costing $75 for the visit and $25/15 minutes. He left us with a bunch of advice on how to fix the problem, as it was quite simple, and noted on his form "husband fixed before I arrived". We were never charged.
- We've been selling things on eBay - the play to go buy things at auction for less than you would pay in the store. Yeah...we sold two nicely priced items for TWICE their face value!! I ask - why would anyone pay $60 for something the could buy for $30 someplace else??? I have no idea...except that we are reaping.
- Some of our electronics need to be replaced. Matt & I have been saving Coke points for months, but they haven't really had anything we need. Last week we picked up a new alarm clock for Matt (and he can dock his iPod...which he got for Christmas); we got a a new universal remote; we got a new CD player. All for free...all to replace things in our house which are breaking/need repair.
It may not seem like a lot to most people, but when Matt and I look at the money we saved/earned over the past 2-3 weeks...its double what we put into that offering plate. Wow.
So I encourage you - if you want to bless God with your money, if you want to bless His work and His kingdom, but you can't ever find the extra cash - GIVE FIRST! You can't really afford not to :)