“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”—2 Corinthians 9:6
By: Steve Bezner, Pastor, Houston Northwest Church
April 2, 2018
If you read accounts of the New Testament church, you are immediately struck with the overwhelming generosity described among the early believers. Acts 2 describes a church that sold property and possessions, sharing houses and food so that everyone among the early community of faith had no needs, making certain that everyone was cared for. Acts 4 reiterates this spirit of generosity, describing what sounds to modern ears something akin to a commune or kibbutz. One of the early heroes of the faith, Barnabas, was commended for selling a piece of property and laying the proceeds of the sale at the feet of the apostles.
Early believers willingly gave so that needs were met. But they also gave so that the gospel might move forward.
In 2 Corinthians 9, Paul shares a moving account of generosity with the church at Corinth. Scholars believe the early church in Corinth was among the wealthiest of churches. Meanwhile, the church in Macedonia was in great financial need. The gospel had just reached Macedonia, and Paul hoped to establish leadership in the church that might be able to stay for some time and teach solid doctrine so that the church in Macedonia could thrive. Consequently, he needed funds for these leaders to stay in Macedonia without being a financial burden to the congregation. His solution? To ask the brothers and sisters in Corinth to consider being generous.
As best we can tell, the church rose to the occasion, at least partly because of Paul’s expert admonition. Paul teaches a principle present throughout not only the New Testament, but the entire Bible—our generosity is rewarded and blessed by God when it is directed towards Kingdom pursuits.
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, many churches rediscovered the heart of generosity inherently implanted within their hearts by the generous grace of God. Congregations gave, served, sweated, and worked so that our city might have the opportunity to recover. Estimates vary, but the work given by churches was estimated to save Houstonians over $100 million!
Our city is ripe with the nations. People groups across our area need to hear the name of Jesus. Millions are bound for a destiny apart from Christ. The mission is plentiful, and the need is great. For many of us, rediscovering the beauty of generosity is part of what the Lord desires from us. As Paul wrote, “God loves a cheerful (the literal word is hilarious) giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7) How good would it be if we prayed that a spiritual revival would lead to a revival of generosity so that the church plants throughout Houston would have no lack as they engage new pockets and communities with the good news of Jesus?
Lord, it is so good to know your grace. You have lovingly rescued and richly provided for each of us. Father, would you awaken a spirit of generosity in the churches of Houston, stirring our hearts to willingly give to those who are taking the good news of Jesus to the least-reached communities in our city? Lord, would you please inspire provisionaries to supply the visionaries? Would you move us to hear your voice and to know how we might support the work of new churches in our city? We desire to see your gospel and your power spread through Houston—for your name. Amen.