Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 19 Issue 02 January 11, 2009
Pulpit Series Volume 19 Issue 02 January 11, 2009
II Corinthians 9:6-15 But this [I say], He which sows sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which sows bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposes in his heart, [so let him give]; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loves a cheerful giver. And God [is] able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all [things], may abound to every good work: (As it is written, He has dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remains for ever. Now he that ministers seed to the sower both minister bread for [your] food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)
Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causes through us thanksgiving to God. For the administration of this service not only supplies the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for [your] liberal distribution unto them, and unto all [men]; And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you. Thanks [be] unto God for his unspeakable gift.
Genuine stewardship is not one thing, but several things which work together.
Stewardship exercises a Choice: v6 We are all stewards. The choice is, do you want to be a good steward or a poor steward? We are given the privilege to make decisions that directly effect our financial lives. Do you see it in verse 6?
This is one of God’s laws of harvest.
1: We Will Reap Only If We Sow.
2: We Will Reap What We Sow.
3: We Will Reap More Than We Sow.
4: We Will Reap In Proportion To What We Sow.
5: We Reap Later Than We Sow.
6: We Will Reap.
7: We Reap Because God Gives the Increase.
Law #4: We Will Reap In Proportion To What We Sow.
II Corinthians 9:6 "sow sparingly reap sparingly; sow bountifully reap bountifully."
The more you sow, the more you reap. The more seed you plant, the greater your harvest. Paul isn’t talking about agriculture - he’s talking about finances. God leaves how much we plant up to us, but He promises to bless everything we plant. That’s our choice.
Stewardship expresses a Cheerfulness
II Corinthians 9:7 begins, "Every man . . ." The appeal to give is for every one.
You may have heard some one pray, "Lord, bless those who can give and those who cannot."
That may sound good, but it's not Scriptural. "Every man" that is a Christian should give, “according as he purposes". There is the idea of choice again.
You might be thinking, "What if I don't want to give?"
Then you ought to pray for a new "want to."
Do you think you will impoverish God by not giving?
Will you hinder God's cause by not giving?
Actually, you only impoverish yourself when you choose not to give.
". . . in his heart." Now follow the progression of this Scripture. Every person who is a Christian who chooses to give should consecrate his gift to God. God is not only interested in what's in your hand, but what's in your heart!
It's not just the amount, it is also attitude.
". . . so let him give." It is one thing to choose to give but it is all but useless if you don’t carry through by actually giving!
Once the heart and mind are joined on giving a certain amount the hands are to take hold of that money and give it.
". . . not grudgingly, or out of necessity."
". . . For God loves a cheerful giver."
The word "cheerful" means "hilarious."
Can you even imagine that kind of giving?
Can you imagine how many people would actually be awake during the offering if some broke loose with a "hallelujah" or a "praise the Lord"?
All too often the deadest part of the service is the offering.
But what kind of salvation did you receive from the Lord? It was the "happy kind," if God gave it. You didn't have much, but you were happy. You didn't know much, but you were happy.
"God loves a cheerful giver," but He’ll take from a grump!
Stewardship brings a Completeness: v8 “And God is able to make all grace abound to you...” Do you believe that?
There is a wonderful illustration of this in
II Kings 4:1-7 The story is of a prophet’s widow who was bankrupt. The creditors were about to sell her two sons as slaves. Elisha asked her what she had of value and she said only a vessel of oil. It was likely a memento of the oil that was used to anoint her husband at the beginning of his ministry. Elisha told her to go to her neighbors and borrow as many vessels as she would, with very specific instruction not to borrow just a few.
She filled her house with these borrowed vessels. And then the prophet told her to pour out her oil into those vessels. She did and kept pouring until all the vessels were full. Elisha then said, "Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and have your family live of the rest."
There was the first door-to-door recycling lady!
Getting out of debt freed her and restored her testimony to her creditors. She would live off of the rest and her children’s needs would also be met.
What a great God we serve who takes care of all our needs!
Stewardship exhibits Contentment v9-15.
Do you see the flow of this passage?
What begins with a choice and is carried our with cheerfulness becomes our completion and results in genuine contentment.
John Maxwell tells the story of a woman he once pastored by the name of Helen Douglas. She was a poor woman who lived in government housing. Her old car was covered with bumper stickers. Maxwell says he used to say to her, "Helen, if you peel off one bumper sticker the whole car will fall apart."
Even though she didn’t have much money, she was faithful to the church. When time came to raise a great deal of money for a new building, the church held prayer meetings every morning at 6 a.m. Helen was always there, waiting for the doors to be opened. She prayed, wept, and fasted asking God to supply their needs.
Finally, when the day of the big offering came, she let the plate pass her by.
God spoke to her heart, "Helen, why didn’t you give?" She said, "Lord, I’m a poor lady. I don’t have anything to give." The Lord said, "Give all you’ve got."
She dug in her purse and came up with a handful of loose change. She put it is an offering envelope and wrote on it, "It’s all I have."
After the service, she gave it to Pastor Maxwell. He tried to give it back to her. She said, "No this is my gift to God." He took it home and opened it. It was $3.30.
That evening, the church was packed because everyone wanted to hear how much the big offering had been. Once everyone settled down, Pastor Maxwell said, "I want to tell you about the largest gift given today." He then shared the story of Helen Douglas. One of the men stood up and said, "That’s the greatest story of stewardship I’ve ever heard. I want one of the coins from that envelope to remind me. I’ll give you $10 for one." Then someone else did the same. Suddenly a spirit of giving came over the church and for the next 30 minutes people sat down and wrote checks and brought them to the front. Some went back and wrote as many as three checks. The smallest gift of all become the largest gift in the history of that church. Stewardship is God’s pathway to blessings.