Reaping What You Sow

“So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”—2 Corinthians 9:7 (NKJV)

I was volunteering as an English tutor for two teenagers. They were brother and sister, and they had recently moved to the U.S. from Korea. The 12-year-old girl was quickly learning English, but her older brother was struggling. Instead of attempting to write his essays in English, he would write everything in Korean and then begin the arduous task of translating it from Korean to English. As you can imagine, this took double the time, and he quickly fell behind in school.

Their father met with me one day after tutoring. “They need more help,” he confided. “I will pay you to come to our house and tutor them for an extra hour each week.”

Money didn’t seem to be an issue for the father, and I was more than happy to trade my volunteer work for moonlighting. Everything was perfect.

Except it wasn’t.

I started dreading our sessions. My patience wore thin. I was annoyed by the boy’s insistence to do things his way and his refusal to try my methods.

Only one thing had changed: money. Now that I was getting paid, my tutoring sessions felt like work. I was required to show up at a certain time, teach for exactly two hours, and produce results.

The option to bail on the kids vanished, because now it was a real job, and I didn’t want to void something I was being generously compensated for. It’s a life lesson I’ve never forgotten: Money has the power to steal joy like a rainstorm on a wedding day.

Today’s Bible verse alludes to this principle: God loves a cheerful giver, and when you give a tithe or offering under compulsion, it’s hard to be happy.

The verse that precedes today’s verse, 2 Corinthians 9:6 (MSG) says, “Remember: A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish planter gets a lavish crop.” You might think God needs your money, and so you give out of guilt. But Psalm 50 says God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. And Acts 17 says human hands cannot meet God’s needs, because He wants for nothing! He has no needs.

Instead, God, in His kindness, invites us to join in His work, that as we “sow generously,” we might also “reap generously.” So if you’re giving out of guilt, you might want to think again.

DIG: Anne Frank was a Jewish-German teenager who was forced to go into hiding during the Holocaust. She wrote, “No one has ever become poor by giving.” What do you think she meant?

DISCOVER: Think about your own giving habits. Do you give cheerfully or out of compulsion?

DISPLAY: If you’ve been giving with less than a cheerful heart, confess this to God and ask Him to give you supernatural joy in the midst of generosity.