A Season of Receiving

Life Notes—November 24, 2011

“The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.”  2 Corinthians 9:6-8

For most of us, there is a direct relationship between what we give and what we receive.  Farmers and gardeners know this well.  If they do not plant in the spring, they do not harvest in the fall.  The lessons of sowing and reaping are less obvious to us today, since few of us grow our own food.  But not too many generations ago, inadequate attention to spring planting could mean starvation the following winter.  Demonstrations of sowing and reaping are all around us, as the decisions of the past manifest their consequences today.  We have sayings that speak these truths: The chickens come home to roost.  We get what we deserve.  There’s no such thing as a free lunch.  But the time that passes between cause and effect makes the relationship cloudy and easily overlooked. 

Paul addresses the concept of sowing and reaping in the scripture above, noting you must sow in abundance to reap in abundance.  And those who receive in abundance are expected to share abundantly.  If we believe this only applies to crops, we miss the point in a serious way.  We sow many seeds throughout our lives—seeds of kindness, of hard work, of love and of generosity.  So, if on this day of Thanksgiving, we are not receiving that which we most desire—be it kindness or love or material needs—maybe we should take a hard look at the seeds we’ve sown.  The writer of the book of Acts attributes Jesus as saying, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35b).  Perhaps we could also say, “It is required first to give in order to receive.”  Obviously, there are those in life circumstances who need assistance in sowing, and that is where and why the rest of us must share our abundance.  Ultimately, our bounty is not ours anyway, but God’s. 

Finally, in the words of two great prophets of the last century, “…and in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make.”  May you share the abundance of a bountiful harvest this Thanksgiving.  And if your bounty is not what you desire, begin sowing for next year’s harvest.  May you have much to be thankful for. 

This Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent.  Tom and Mitch will begin an Advent sermon series entitled, “Open Up.”  This Sunday’s sermon title is “Open Up Expectations,“ based on Mark 13:32-37.  Tom will preach downtown, where Life worship is at 10:00 in Brady Hall and traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00 in the sanctuary.  Mitch will preach at the west campus, where contemporary worship is at 9:00 and 11:00. 

Come home to church this Sunday.  Wishing you all blessing in abundance!

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator

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