Give & Be Happy

3 min read

Be a cheerful giver.

Have you ever heard the saying:

“Those who sow a little will reap little, and those who sow much will reap a great harvest.”

Well, that comes from the Bible (2 Corinthians 9). As I recall, this saying was always followed with an encouragement to give as much as I could give. Give Big! Add a Zero to whatever you are planning to give. Empty the wallet type stuff. After all, why would you not give a lot if you reap a lot in return? But I think this line of thought is a little off the mark compared to the actual context of the Biblical passage.

The Apostle Paul is the writer of the letter containing this passage, and the Corinthians were the recipients of that letter. Paul was writing in advance of his planned visit to Corinth. In preparation for his visit, he wanted the Corinthians to arrange “the gift” anticipated. The gift mentioned was a donation scheduled for the work among the saints in Macedonia. Paul was impressed by the Corinthian “zeal” toward the work. In fact, he mentions his “boast” about their “readiness” toward the “ministry for the saints .” He had no intention of embarrassing himself or the Corinthians by arriving before the gift was ready and possibly having to eat his boasting words about their readiness to give. So he sent some of his coworkers ahead to ensure all was ready when he and any Macedonian travelers who might venture with him arrived.

Paul had two stated purposes for sending someone ahead of him to Corinth. The first, as discussed above, was to ensure the readiness of the gift. The second reason was likely of more importance to Paul than the first. It was to ensure that any gift was not seen as “extraction” but rather as a “willing gift .” If Paul were present, the people might have felt under an obligation to present a gift to him for the ministry, more specifically, a certain-sized gift. Paul wanted to be absent so that the people could freely give without the sense of extortion.

Here is where we get to the passage about sowing and reaping. Paul states in verse 6, “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Paul wanted a cheerfully given gift, not a reluctant donation. I would also suggest that Paul’s analogy was by no means intended to exert pressure on the givers to increase the size of their gifts. Paul makes an obvious, logical statement that the level of reaping corresponds to the level of sowing. If you put a small number of seeds in the ground, you will reap a small number of crops. But if you put in many seeds, you will reap many crops. Paul did not suggest one was better than the other or that one was more acceptable than the other. He was simply making a statement of fact.

This viewpoint is further supported later in the passage when Paul states, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart .” He did not say each one must give as much as he could give. Nor did he give the “Add a zero because this is your opportunity to reap a huge harvest!” exclamation. Paul indicates that everyone is responsible for understanding and deciding what they will give and then giving it. In doing this, one can eliminate compulsion and reluctance to give. Giving as one decides to give creates what Paul describes as a “cheerful giver,” and a cheerful giver is something God loves. In giving, there is no worry about how much you are giving on God’s part. He does not fret over what He will do if you do not add the zero. Believe me; God has it covered. What God is interested in is how much of yourself you give. Did you give freely, without reluctance or compulsion? Did you give selfishly, or did you give with a heart of cheerfulness?

At Mite, we want every giving opportunity to be one where the giver experiences cheer. We are grateful to be in the company of people who love to give. It encourages us, and we know it helps others. We invite you to join this community of givers. Decide what your Mite will be and give it. Freely. Cheerfully. Then we can all celebrate!

The Apostle Paul is the writer of the letter containing this passage, and the Corinthians were the recipients of that letter. Paul was writing in advance of his planned visit to Corinth. In preparation for his visit, he wanted the Corinthians to arrange “the gift” anticipated. The gift mentioned was a donation scheduled for the work among the saints in Macedonia. Paul was impressed by the Corinthian “zeal” toward the work. In fact, he mentions his “boast” about their “readiness” toward the “ministry for the saints .” He had no intention of embarrassing himself or the Corinthians by arriving before the gift was ready and possibly having to eat his boasting words about their readiness to give. So he sent some of his coworkers ahead to ensure all was ready when he and any Macedonian travelers who might venture with him arrived.

Paul had two stated purposes for sending someone ahead of him to Corinth. The first, as discussed above, was to ensure the readiness of the gift. The second reason was likely of more importance to Paul than the first. It was to ensure that any gift was not seen as “extraction” but rather as a “willing gift .” If Paul were present, the people might have felt under an obligation to present a gift to him for the ministry, more specifically, a certain-sized gift. Paul wanted to be absent so that the people could freely give without the sense of extortion.


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