But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 2 Corinthians 9:6
Recently I heard a message on 2 Corinthians chapter 9. I have read it, studied it, and even preached from it many times. But this time my mind was drawn to more deeply meditate on the specific choice of words, “bountifully” and “sparingly” used in the context of planting a field was used.
I’ve always taken it more to say, “don’t be cheap, be generous so the Lord can give you even more than you could imagine, maybe even deserve.” The common phrase you hear is “you can’t outgive God.” But as I meditated on this passage, I wrestled with it more deeply.
I imagined a farmer having a plot of land that needed to be seeded (sown). Apparently, this farmer has enough to properly plant for a crop but could choose to not plant all that he had, or at least as much as a well planted field could handle. This farmer would clearly have a choice to plant less than a full crop on the land he has been given, but this would be a poor investment for that size of plot and with the fact that he could have planted more.
This then becomes a matter of laziness and poor stewardship. He could have significantly more harvest if he more fully distributed what he has been given in seeds and covers more fully the soil. What Paul seems to be saying is you get out exactly what you put into this endeavor. If you invest little, you receive little, but if planted in abundance, you will also get exactly what you put in.
Though the context seems to allude to money, the inclusion in verse ten about “increasing the fruits of your righteousness” broadens the scope.
I remember watching missionary after missionary leave their fields and use the excuse of “lack of fruit”. In fact, one of the areas we served in, many missionaries had come and gone before us, leaving with this same excuse.
But the issue was the exact issue Paul addresses here, they “sowed sparingly.” They wanted and expected a “bounty” from the little effort they put forth in planting. No, this he guarantees, that at the very least you can count on a harvest which is directly proportional to the effort put in.
God may choose to bless you with more, but we can count on a return that is proportional to our investment. Perhaps we find ourselves asking God for more fruit. Maybe the real question we should be asking is have we planted enough seed, have we put in the extra effort, have we been fully engaged and invested?
Dr. Ronald J. Barnes Jr.
President / CEO
December 6, 2021