“But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7 KJV)
“Soweth…” As in planting or scattering seed? That sounds like a whole lot of work in a hot sun that is likely to be followed by watering, weeding, and a lot of care. Do we not have an app for that? We do not mind big data mining projects that can collect all the optimal information for when and where to plant to get the maximum rewards. So long as it is done by machines. It is even better when the results are freely searchable online. Maybe we can even bring in some contractors to actually do the work once we have the key information too. Unfortunately, one of the best ways to understand the value of something reaped is to spend time and effort in the sowing process. The less aspiration you put into a field that needs planted, the less claim that you are able to have in really experiencing the joy of the harvest. Do not get me wrong. Technology is not the bad guy. It just facilitates a managed heart to be more so. Similar to money not being the root of evil, but rather the lustful love of money.
So, “as he purposeth in his heart” really is key! One of the biggest differentiators in the purposes of a heart is a fundamental understanding that when giving; our supply is not limited. The only ratio addressed here is a ratio of sowing to reaping. The challenge for the manager is that he thinks everything is a zero sum gain. He looks in his bag, sees X number of seeds, and determines how many of those seeds he can risk on a sowing proposition. The one in surrender sees the field seedless, sows as many of the seeds in his bag as he can knowing that he just got his bag from God. When he runs out, he waits for the next delivery to refill his bag. The one in surrender is also motivated to work the field to make sure the seeds grow so that harvest can in part be used to seed the rest of the field. As with so many other instances, the goal of the harvest is not to fill our bag, but to provide seed to replant and to plant the fields near it. Sure, we are allowed to eat some as we go, but making ourselves too fat makes us less effective workers.
There is another differentiation. “cheerful…” Every pastor I have heard wants to give yet a more literal definition of “cheerful”, but practically, if you are not cheerful; then you are not eager to be there. It is the employee who is not happy that is the first to begin looking elsewhere. No one wants a chance to practice the basics of faith if they are constantly scheming up a better way to do this. The one who is cheerful is someone always looking for a way that this harvest can be expanded. Some way to demonstrate that the seeds that God has given them can grow even in otherwise worthless soil. Similar to planting soy beans, these seeds actually regenerate soil by putting nutrients that are necessary for life back into the ground that we are made from. Someone who is not cheerful has likely not let the Lord of the harvest regenerate something special in them.
“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11 KJV)