“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-8
My pastor recently shared a quote from author Sharon Hodde Miller in a teaching that is changing the way I think about the blessings God has given me. Here’s what she has to say in her teaching on Amos:
“Mistakenly, the Israelites hoarded their opulence (their wealth, their ease of life) as “blessing.” They saw the provision as an end in itself, a gift from God to be indulged. They also drew security from it […]
God rebuked them for their greed, and in the strongest possible terms, because He viewed blessing quite differently than the Israelites. God did not intend for the Israelites to prosper simply to luxuriate in it. He did not provide them with wealth simply as an assurance of security. And He did not allow them ease of life simply to grow complacent. The blessings of God were never meant to be stored up like grain.
Just as Israel was meant to be a light to the nations, and the Church a light to the world, everything we are given has a greater purpose. May we steward our blessings accordingly.”
That gives me chills. Scripture doesn’t hold back from telling us that if we store up our treasures–or sow sparingly as 2 Corinthians 9 says it– we will miss out, reap sparingly, or maybe even see our treasures completely go to waste. There was a reason why God let the mana He gave the Israelites rot if they took too much: He knows our hearts are fickle and afraid to fully trust Him, and it seems like the better idea to take as much as we can for ourselves and hoard it for a rainy day.
But God has bigger plans for our lives than to keep the blessings He’s given us just to ourselves. He asks us to be generous and give of the blessings of our lives (whether it’s time, money, resources, or gifts) because we are intended to be a blessing to the rest of the world. We are His hands and feet, and God has each of us where we are to share His hope and light with others.
Who in your life needs something that you have? If God has blessed you financially, what person or organization would be blessed by your generosity? If you have extra time in your schedule, who do you know that needs a friend or a listening ear? If you have a special gift or talent, where can you use that gift to be a light to others?
God has blessed us each abundantly, and He has good works to do in and through our lives. Instead of keeping these things for our own gain, let’s instead choose to bless the world.