The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. As it is written,
‘He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor;
his righteousness endures for ever.’
As we read the passage for day 3, a theme is emerging for the week. God doesn’t especially care about our offerings in themselves. I don’t think there’s much scriptural evidence that He really loves fattened calves or that He is personally in need of your tithe. No, God cares about your heart! That’s what Cain didn’t understand. That’s what Solomon wanted to share in Ecclesiastes! Whatever we give to God with a cheerful heart is pleasing to Him because it teaches us to be loving and generous as He is! Our tithes are meant for us. It’s like an exercise DVD. If we put on the video and then sit on the couch and watch, it doesn’t really do anything. We have to be active participants because the participation is for our benefit!
Now, it’s very important not to misunderstand this passage. Paul is not saying that being faithful and generous guarantees a lot of money or even financial security. God does not promise that. He promises blessings. Maybe that means money sometimes. Maybe not. It could also mean a more faithful heart. A fuller relationship with Him. The reason why we cannot say “the faithful are rewarded” is because there are many many examples of God’s faithful servants who are destitute, homeless, poor, etc. The belief that physical health and financial prosperity are the results of faithfulness and generosity automatically implies the reverse: that poor and sick people must somehow be sinful or greedy. You know who was constantly poor? PAUL!! God does not guarantee an easy life for the righteous. He certainly doesn’t guarantee wealth.
So what can we take away from this passage? Our generosity is for our spiritual benefit. No, God is not a divine rent collector who really needs our tithes. He is teaching us to live! No, benefits/blessings do not always equate to a nice return on an investment. Remember that the twelve disciples who followed Jesus “gave up” all that they had!
Money is money. Nothing else. It’s our hearts that can be purified or corrupted!