Going Deeper 06.14.2021

An excerpt from yesterday's message...

The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  In truth, this is a problematic place to start.  The misuse of this verse—and similar Bible verses—has been at the root of some of the bad preaching, with people being promised that if they give more they’ll receive more… which seems to be what this verse says, right?

But I hope that the blatant self-centeredness of such teaching would send up a red flag for us.  Give more so that you can get more?! That’s not what stewardship is all about.  Not even close.  What Paul describes here is to be understood as “fruit” not as “fertilizer.” In other words, the bountiful reaping is a result of good stewardship, but it is not to be understood as the motive!

This is really important, and honestly very tricky theology.  Our journey of faith is one which involves a process of transformation which leads us to become less and less self-centered and more and more outwardly focused.  Yes, as many generous stewards will testify to, God does bless them as they become increasingly generous… which makes it possible for them to become even more generous.  God blesses His children in order for us to be blessings to others, not to simply increase our personal wealth so we can surround ourselves with more and more luxuries.

Paul reinforces this truth a few verses later in our text, writing that: 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. … and He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us.

This is foundational stuff! Again, the goal is for us to become increasingly outwardly focused…  in other words, more like we were created to be, and more like Jesus.  And when our lives are marked by gratitude, love, compassion, and generosity, our lives are truly more blessed.  For it truly is more blessed to give than to receive.  That’s a fact, not some overly idealistic cliche.

With You in His Service,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor

Zion Lutheran Church, Wellington

"Gratefully Growing Servants"

June 13 21.mp4