Seed for the Sower
Everything we have is a gift from God—and when we share what He’s given to us, we take part in an even greater blessing.
Sometimes giving away what we treasure or worked hard to earn can feel like a big sacrifice. Even while sincerely wanting to be obedient to the Lord—and make a difference for others—sharing our time, money, resources, or emotional energy can be a challenge when we count the cost.
But when we give anything to God, aren’t we simply giving back to the One who gave us the means to give? In Mere Christianity, author C. S. Lewis likens this reality to a child asking her father for money to buy him a birthday gift; the father is blessed by the love behind her present, yet in actuality, he is the one who provided the gift for her to give. “Every faculty you have, your power of thinking or of moving your limbs from moment to moment, is given to you by God,” writes Lewis. “If you devoted every moment of your whole life exclusively to His service, you could not give Him anything that was not in a sense His own already . . . When a man has made [this discovery,] God can really get to work. It is after this that real life begins. The man is awake now.”
READ 2 Corinthians 8:1-15
Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth about the Macedonian church, who modeled this fully alive spirit of giving. Though experiencing hard times themselves, they found great joy and blessing in living generously. Paul was always raising support for Jerusalem’s suffering believers, and the Macedonians, instead of considering themselves too impoverished to contribute, wanted to meet those needs with the gifts God had given them.
The apostle wanted the Corinthians—who were wealthier in the material sense—to be inspired and motivated by this church’s example. He wasn’t trying to shame them into giving out of their abundance. Rather, he explained that each individual should deliberately follow the Holy Spirit’s leading to give freely, and not because of outside pressure or emotional compulsiveness. Paul wanted them them to understand how generosity really works for those in God’s kingdom.
In Mark 12:41-44, Jesus gave us a clear picture of what matters to Him: the heart behind the gift, not its amount. Any religious leader watching the collection of temple offerings that day would have been quick to call the large donations from rich patrons “generous” gifts. Yet Jesus praised the humble offering of a poor widow.
While her two copper coins would have seemed meager to others, He saw that she’d given everything she had. Was He commending her for martyrdom, giving away her means of survival out of piety? Hardly. This widow obviously didn’t see the money as her source of provision—all she had belonged to God, so surely, if He moved her to give these coins He’d given her, He would provide for her needs in another way.
Even King David, who in his latter days oversaw great material wealth, recognized the same principle. In 1 Chronicles 29, he prayed, “Who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from You, and from Your hand we have given You. For we are sojourners before You, and tenants, as all our fathers were; our days on the earth are like a shadow” (1 Chron. 29:14-15).
Paul chose an agricultural picture to illustrate that God, as the owner and provider, is the one who empowers us to give (2 Cor. 9:6-11): we are like a farmer who sows seed that has been supplied to him and, as a result, gets to eat bread. As we sow generously, our harvest is abundant, and the blessing for many that comes from that harvest results in even more thanksgiving and glory offered to the generous Giver of life.
REFLECT + EXPLORE
Reflect on these insights from supporting scriptures. If you have time, explore the passages and journal your responses.
1. All we have—whether money, freedom, or spiritual knowledge—has been entrusted to us as a gift from the Lord. Losing sight of this can breed arrogance, which blinds us and pushes us further from Him.
Read Deuteronomy 8:11-18 and 1 Corinthians 4:7. When we enjoy abundance or ease, why is it important to remember all that God has rescued us from?
2. Everything material in this life is temporary and has the potential to be hoarded, wasted, or used productively for eternal purposes.
Read Matthew 6:19-24 and Luke 12:13-21. What is the connection between the things we invest our daily energies/resources in and the state of our heart?
3. We can waste energy and time obsessing over life’s superficial necessities, or we can focus first on what God calls us to do and let Him care for our needs.
Read Luke 12:22-34. How should Jesus’ teaching on priorities change the way we see our daily lives?
Answer the following questions, journaling your thoughts if possible.
- What is God saying to you through your study today?
- What questions do you have about handling resources? Ask the Lord to bring greater understanding through prayer and further study, and to help you pay attention to what He will show you in the coming days.
- Write a prayer of response to God.
Illustration by Jeff Gregory