And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that you always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work. As it is written, “He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures for ever.” He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us.
II Corinthians 9:8-11
A sage long ago observed the incalculable mystery of how “Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the apples in a seed”. Jesus loved to talk about and explore this exponential power of seeds. He told of a farmer who went forth sowing seeds and how the seeds mysteriously grew up producing a harvest thirty and sixty and a hundred fold (Mark 4:8-9). Jesus spoke of how a farmer scatters seed, goes to bed and sleeps. While he sleeps the seed germinates and grows, but the farmer does not understand how. Inexplicably a seed sprouts, first the stalk, then the head, and then the full grain (Mark 4:26). Jesus interpreted His own life by the timeless parable of the seed that must first fall into the ground and die, or else it abides alone, bearing no fruit; but if it dies it bears much fruit (John 12:24). Lest we be content to just counting seeds in apples, Jesus clearly intends for us to think, pray, and live exponentially.
Like Jesus, the apostle Paul in today’s Scripture points to the exponential power inherent in the seed. The farmer who plants a seed is not throwing it away or wasting it. He knows that he will receive back far more seed than he sows. Similarly, those who sow in generous giving receive back more than they can ever give. What God does for the farmer on the physical plane God does for the generous giver on the spiritual plane: “He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.”
To anyone who wants to give generously: “God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that you always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work”. God gives back what we sow and more, just as Jesus promised: “Give, and it shall be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running will be put into your lap” (Luke 6:38). God will be generous with us as we give, so that we can give more.
We probably do best not to read into these verses any health, wealth, and prosperity formula. Rather, God enriches us not for lavish lifestyles, but for giving lavishly from that abundance of His grace: God “will increase the harvest of your righteousness”. Notice that God supplies and multiplies that we “may abound in every good work”. Certainly for most in North America God’s blessing has included financial abundance. But His grace goes far beyond money and possessions to the deepest longings of our heart.
I am finding that God’s promised abundance operates in many areas of life. For instance, I wanted to give more time to God in prayer, but just couldn’t find the time. Then I thought of the little boy in the Gospel story who gave his whole sack lunch to Jesus, no questions asked. Jesus received his little lunch and used it to bless not only the boy in return, but many thousands of people besides.
I applied that story to my lack of time to give in prayer, and realized that I had time and prayer backwards. I had thought that lack of time was the cause of my lack of prayer, then, realized that lack of prayer was the cause of my lack of time. Now I find that by giving time to God in prayer, God actually gives me more time in effectiveness and fruit. God always takes what we give to Him and multiplies it exponentially in ways that only heaven will fully reveal.
- Think of an incident when you saw God supply and multiply seed for doing His will in the world.
- The little boy who gave his lunch to Jesus saw Him multiply it beyond his imagination. What do you sense that Jesus might be asking you to give to Him for Him to multiply?