“Remember: A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish planter gets a lavish crop. 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.
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. 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.
The most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. 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.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-11
As we prepare to seek God’s leading to construct the Athletic Multipurpose Center and seek what each of our parts will be in that effort, I am reminded of 2005 when we were preparing to build the four story education extension to the worship center at Hill Country Bible Church. We had already participated in God’s provision of the land, the first two buildings, and then the worship center, but this building was going to be larger and more expensive than all the other projects. At the time our kids were ten, four, and two, and we knew that they would personally benefit in amazing ways if it was to be built. The facility was going to provide nursery, preschool, elementary, youth and adult space, two auditoriums, a café, and designated space for the school with administration offices, a library, art and computer rooms. The project was also adding 25 acres to the campus. We knew that with a project of that size, it could only be done if we turned to God’s will, as revealed in His Word, and His provision through all of us. There was no way it was going to be done through emotional stories or exerting pressure; it had to be done by raising our vision to God’s vision and radical, hilarious, joyful obedience.
As a family, we packed a picnic dinner and went to the site of the future building. As we ate our dinner, we opened God’s Word and read 2 Corinthians 9:6-11. We were instantly reminded of how God had led us to radically give over and above our regular giving to help provide each of the earlier phases, and of how much joy and provision He gave us and how He grew our faith to give more each time. We were also reminded of Malachi 3:10-12, that you can’t out give God, and we recounted how that was so true in our lives. As we prayed and sought His leading, we were moved to sacrifice greatly so we could experience greater joy, excitement and fruit. He led us to pledge 1.5 times the purchase price of our home. We were all scared and giddy at the same time. We continued to do monthly picnic dinners at the construction site and pray for God to use the new facility in our lives and the lives of others and to provide the funds to meet our pledge. At the conclusion of the project, God provide for us and for the overall project. We continue to see the fruit of His provision in that facility and the work He is doing in it through His people. We can’t wait to see what He is going to do through this expansion, too.
Father God, reveal your joy in giving to us and the joy you have for us when we follow your example. Let us not be stingy planters, but rather show us how we can be generous with reckless abandon, to see a harvest produced that we cannot even imagine. In Jesus’ name and power we pray. Amen.
Community Impact Pastor, Hill Country Bible Church