Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. – 2 Corinthians 9:7

Scripture says that when you sow, you will reap a harvest, and the harvest depends on what you show and how much you sow. Once you determine what you want to harvest, you will know what you need to sow. If you want supernatural and spectacular things from God, you won’t just sow ordinary seeds. The harvest also depends on where you sow. The seeds must be planted in good soil (Matthew 13:8). When we invest in the kingdom of God, He returns our investment in abundance. We must plant our seeds in fertile ground. Matthew 6:33 tells us that we can maintain the growth of our crop when we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. The harvest also depends on when you sow—different crops demand different amounts of time to grow. If we plant in the spring, we won’t see a crop in the spring. We must be patient and wait for God to bring the harvest in due time. Finally, your harvest depends on why you sow. Are you planting so that you can benefit from the prosperity of the harvest or so that God will be glorified? Your motivation is important to God. If you sow because you want to bring Him glory, you will reap great things by His grace.


He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. – 2 Corinthians 9:6

An axiom is a governing principle or rule of thumb. Here are some examples: Birds fly, water is wet, fire is hot, and what goes up must come down. There are spiritual axioms too, including the one in today’s verse: A man reaps what he sows. That axiomatic statement is as real as any of the others, but it’s not believed to the same degree as the others. We reap what we sow in all of life—not just where money is concerned, which is how this axiom usually applied. A little boy was told by his father to go outside and do some planting in the garden. The boy was lazy and didn’t feel like doing all that work, so he dug one hole, dumped all the seeds in, and covered them up. He went back inside and told his dad the work was done, forgetting that what he planted would reveal itself—and his laziness—in time. He would one day reap what he sowed. According to our axiom, if we don’t sow seeds, we shouldn’t expect a harvest. Many Christians want a great harvest from God, but they have sown very few seeds for God. Your harvest depends on what you sow. If you plant potatoes, potatoes will grow. To plant the flesh means you will simply live to gratify yourself. But to plant the Spirit is to live for the glory of God.


Abel, on his part also brought the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. – Genesis 4:4-5

When you give God your firstfruits, you not only give Him the first, you give Him the best. In Malachi 1 the Israelites brought God the worst of their leftovers for their sacrifices—the sick, blind, and lame animals. Sometimes that’s what we bring God—our leftover time, energy, and devotion. We come to God when we’re not at our peak. The story of Cain and Abel in the Scripture above serves as a reminder that God isn’t pleased with those who do not offer firstfruits. Cain wound up killing his brother over this very matter. Abel brought God the best because he believed God desired and deserved the best. Cain’s offering showed that he thought God deserved something but not necessarily the best. If we’re not worshipping God by bringing Him our firstfruits, we’re likely giving our firstfruits to something else. To find out where your firstfruits are going, ask yourself, “What gets my best time and my undivided attention?” Whenever you give God what is first in your heart, time, and treasure, you’re honoring Him as God. How can you honor God with your firstfruits today?


“A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.” – Mark 12:42-44

In the story of the widow’s mite, we see Jesus closely and critically watching people give their offerings. He looked beyond their visible actions and into their hearts. Having observed the widow place her meager but heartfelt offering in the treasury, Jesus made sure the disciples didn’t miss seeing the heart of the widow or the lesson that her giving provided. Most of us would miss watching the widow. Instead, we would be watching the important looking people in the temple, the ones who made large offerings from their ample funds. We would be impressed by how much they gave. We might even suggest honoring them for their giving or naming a building after them. But Jesus didn’t call the disciples over to see the big givers. He called them over to notice a poor widow who gave less than a penny. Why did Jesus fix His attention on the widow? Because she gave more. “She, out of her poverty, put in all she owned,” while the rich men gave out of their surplus. The rich gave what they had left over. This woman didn’t have anything extra; she gave everything she had. Jesus knew this, and He saw her heart. Remember this: God measures our gift not by its amount, but by our motive.


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