Sowing and Reaping
God should not have to pry your hand open to give, for He should find you ready, willing, and obediently desiring to furnish His house and children. The Bible is chalk full of promises regarding sowing and reaping, tithing and receiving, believing God will provide. The Apostle Paul teaches the churches to give generously in most of his epistles. To the church in Corinth he writes, “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)
My husband is a cheerful giver. I believe one of his gifts given by the Spirit is a generous heart. I have learned valuable lessons from Tommy. The urge to not leave a tip for an undeserving waitress, was covered with a generous hand who would say, “Maybe she is having a bad day.” The urge to not provide for those who were struggling because we were financially strapped, was blanketed with a generous hand saying, “I would want people to help me.” The urge to withhold a tithe when the mind wanders to “stored treasures that rust” is rebuked, when the opening of a generous hand says, “I received an extra check, please tithe to the church.”
Tithing is a blessing. The tithe in churches can be seen in the freshly cut grass, the beautiful landscaping, construction for new improvements, and well manicured walkways. Walking into the temple of God, His sanctuary, His house of prayer, His church for sons and daughters for praising and worshiping, I desire to see a well kept house. I desire God’s house to be better than my own. I desire the House of Prayer to reflect His beauty, with cleanliness and an atmosphere of warmth like open arms. I desire God’s temple to be colorful, as the rainbow in which He filled the sky, filling the ground with freshly planted flowers and shrubs. I love seeing churches receive a new parking lot. I love to see pastors describe missions trips, Bibles being passed out, and the Gospel being spread through Food Shares and Operation Christmas Child.
I am THANKFUL pastors receive a payment of their calling from the church so each can use their gifts and talents in ministry, and while not having to pull the slack from a second job. I am thankful to provide to pastor’s families, for if we receive sporting tickets, restaurant cards, parties, extra “things”, Galatians 6:6 springs forth in spirit, “Anyone who receives instruction in the Word must share all good things with his instructor.” Our family LOVES to bless those in church.
As my heart has been laid out for you, let us get to the widow with two mites. In the Gospel of Mark 12:41-44, Jesus is sitting opposite the place where the offerings were given, watching the crowd put their money into the temple treasury. I love that Jesus just sat and watched! My mind imagines Christ sitting, standing or walking with us as we take our offerings to His house. His desire for us to go deeper into giving, tithing and seeing the motives in which we give, inspire me to rise higher.
“Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.”
Can you picture it? Watching the rich, “throw” their large amounts in to the offering did not impress Jesus, nor should it impress us. Many who have much will be expected of much, but there can come a complacent attitude of just “throwing” the money, taking for granted the accountability of such a blessing and trust. How many “rich” people do you know, if something were to happen to their money, if it was all taken from them, would crumble and fall to pieces? The Bible does not say her emotional state of giving these small coins, but I can imagine if Christ praised her, it was a pure, faithful heart.
When we give our money to the Lord, whether tithing or offering to help those in need, Tommy and I pray the funds are used properly for God’s purposes. I believe this widow, following the commands in the Law, gave her money to God believing He provides, calling on the name of Jehovah Jirah, My Provider! There were times in our life we did not know how we were going to pay for groceries, rent, school or electric bills. We did not know how God was going to provide, but we did believe He would never leave us nor forsake us.
During the years of tithing, believing, praying and giving, I struggled to understand God’s ways. If I am giving, why am I not receiving? If you ask the same question, then ask a few more, “Are your motives pure in asking God for more? Are you faithful with what has been given to you? Can the Lord trust you with more money? It is hard to ask God for more money, when given, you will spend it on a new purse. It is hard to ask God for money if what you have is being given to movies, entertainment, electronics, gambling, phones, toys, bigger cars or homes you already can not afford. It is hard to ask God for more money if you have not been faithful with what he has given you. Do you pay your bills on time? Do you honor your commitments on credit? Have you extended your credit card limit or have you purchased something you could not afford for entertainment or prideful motives?
I believe the Lord had our family in a season of financial testing for our faith and believe in “security”, which rested on our bank accounts. If you visibly have money, there is a comfort and refuge in believing your safe, you can provide for your family. The testing comes when you are tithing, believing, and your bank account is empty, unsure how you are going to pay the rent money. This is when your faith is being stretched and continues to deepen as you persistently trust God, tithe and generously sow.
We are to give generously, provide to those who instruct us in the Word and the House of God. Our hearts and minds expect pastors to quickly respond to our needs, prayer lists, sick loved ones, blessing over new homes, teach us the Word, tirelessly serve our community, so the least Christians can do is provide to those who work hard for the Kingdom of God.
I encourage you to prepare your heart for a lifetime of giving. There is such joy in helping others in need. I pray you are inspired to be, as Jesus watches you, this widow who gave all she had, knowing God would provide.
Pray the Prayer for Tithing on our Prayer for Every Circumstance Page. You can find the full teaching under our Resource Page, One a Day; 30 Days of Prayer with the Women of the Bible, Book 1