GRATEFUL IV

Abundant Thanksgivings

Text: 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 (MSG)  Remember: A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish planter gets a lavish crop.  7) I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give.  That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting.  God loves it when the giver delights in the giving.

8) God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done.  9) As one psalmist puts it – “He throws caution to the winds, giving to the needy in reckless abandon.  His right-living, right-giving ways never run out, never wear out.”

10) This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you.  11) He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.

12) Carrying out this social relief work involves far more than helping meet the bare needs of poor Christians.  It also produces abundant and bountiful thanksgivings to God.  13) This relief offering is a prod to live at your very best, showing your gratitude to God by being openly obedient to the plain meaning of the Message of Christ.  You show your gratitude through your generous offerings to your needy brothers and sisters, and really toward everyone.  14) Meanwhile, moved by the extravagance of God in your lives, they’ll respond by praying for you in passionate intercession for whatever you need.  15) Thank God for this gift, his gift.  No language can praise it enough!

I. Giving Is Fun –  When You Know Your Gifts Make a Difference 

II. Giving Is Fun –  When You Realize that what You Give Will Be Given Back to You

III. Giving Is Fun –  When You Realize that what You Give Will Multiply

1st Law - If you sow, you will always have a harvest.

Matthew 25:29  To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance.  But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.

2nd Law - You reap the same kind of seed that you sow.

Galatians 6:7-9  Don’t be misled - you cannot mock the justice of God.  You will always harvest what you plant.  8) Those who    live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature.  But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.  9) So let’s not get tired of doing what is good.  At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.

3rd Law - You always reap after you sow.  

Galatians 6:9  So let’s not get tired of doing what is good.  At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.

James 5:7-8  See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm.

4th Law - You always reap in proportion to what you sow.  

2 Corinthians 9:6  Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.

5th Law - We always reap more than we sow

2 Corinthians 9:10 Now God who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide and multiply your supply of seed and will cause the harvest of your righteousness to grow.

Proverbs 3:9-10  Honor the Lord from your wealth and from the first fruits of all your crops;  10) then your barns will be filled completely, and your vats will overflow with new wine.

Malachi 3:10-10  “Bring the entire tithe into the storehouse so that there may be food in my temple.  Test me in this matter,” says the Lord who rules over all, “to see if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until there is no room for it all.”

Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.    

6th Law - You may sow secretly, but the harvest is seen by all.   

Matthew 6:3-4 (AMP) But when you give to charity, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,  4) So that your deeds of charity may be in secret; and your Father Who sees in secret will reward you openly.

7th  Law - You are responsible to sow; God is responsible for the harvest.

Mark 4:26-29  He also said, “The kingdom of God is like someone who spreads seed on the ground.  27) He goes to sleep and gets up, night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.  28) By itself the soil produces a crop, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head.  29) And when the grain is ripe, he sends in the sickle because the harvest has come.”

Deuteronomy 15:10  Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand       to.