“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly,
and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully…
You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way,
which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.”
2 Corinthians 9:6, 11
There is a temptation to hold back when we are called to be generous. To play it safe, not giving entirely of ourselves or our resources, in order to have something stored up as we face an unknown future.
What we have a tendency to forget is this: our God knows what the future holds. He has written each of our days. And it is He who calls us to give generously. It is His Spirit who leads us in the ways we are to give. He is the One to whom we should listen, drawing near to hear His voice, following obediently as He guides us in faithfulness.
Our God knows what we need. He will provide the strength, wisdom, and grace as we need it. And He owns the cattle on a thousand hills—He owns everything—so we can rest assured that if the unexpected happens and we don’t know where funds or resources will come from, He will be faithful to us in our need.
This confidence in the care and sovereignty of our God frees us to give of ourselves without reservation. We can pour ourselves out, looking to Him to fill us with Himself, to strengthen and equip us for the task. We are free to sow bountifully and be generous in every way, giving of ourselves, our time, our talents, our resources as God leads, because it is He who enriches us through His boundless grace.
Discernment is required here…not as an “out” which allows us to sow sparingly when there is so much need in our broken world, but as a display of our sincere desire to do the work to which God calls us and invest ourselves as He purposes. Because it isn’t about our purposes or what other people think we should do. It’s about Christ. It’s about the glory of our Lord and joining Him in His work.
There are so many other voices giving advice, counsel, and instruction that listening for our Shepherd can be challenging. In moments of question, I turn to John 10. Jesus is speaking of His people, the sheep who follow their Shepherd’s voice. “But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers…I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me…My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:2-5, 14, 27).
The closer we are to our Shepherd, the better we are able to recognize His voice. We are to draw near to our Lord. Spend time with Him daily. Study His Word. Speak to Him. Listen for Him. Ask Him to open your eyes to His glory, to awaken your ear to His truth, to help you to know which voice is His. Your Shepherd is not out to trick you. This isn’t a game. He knows you in all of your details. He knows how to speak and to guide. Seek His face, quiet your heart, and look to Him in faith. Follow obediently, and He will be faithful to enrich you to give generously. You will know the joy of walking with Christ and the immeasurable blessings found in trusting Him without reservation.