Sunday 26 April 2020

The Grace of Giving

I had a number of pleasing surprises yesterday, mostly concerning new requests for plants, but the best was to do with the rough quote - if you don’t sow, you won’t reap – with which I started Saturday’s blog.  I turned from the computer to have my daily Bible reading – a habit that I’ll explain some other time – to find these words jumping from the page: Remember this: whoever sows sparingly will reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will reap generously. An interesting coincidence, some would say. One reaction was to look through my seed tin. I mentioned the other day that I had previously gone through all the old packets and sown the contents. However, that excluded those seeds that should be sown direct into the seedbed so that kept me busy for the next hour or so

Corinthian context
The quotation about generous sowing and reaping comes from the longest passage in the Bible devoted to this topic - two chapters, no less. They are found in the Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapters 8 and 9. If you read carefully a couple of times you’ll begin to work out the context which was a collection being made in Asia Minor to relieve suffering back in Jerusalem. Two things struck me – first, a point of difference with today - and second, a point of similarity. 

Practicalities then
Think about Roman times and consider the practicalities of transporting a significant chunk of coinage from Corinth to Jerusalem. By sea, and there is the risk of it going to the bottom. By land, what about robbers and brigands? And this is hard earned cash voluntarily given at some sacrifice. (the web tells me the road distance Corinth/Jerusalem comes in at just under 2000 miles – but that’s on modern roads today, of course). Read the two short chapters carefully, and you will find clues as to the precautions taken by the Apostle Paul, so they were acting responsibly and accountably to deliver the gift. No banks, online transfer and so forth

Enduring lesson
As I say, it is worth reading the passage carefully and thoughtfully. 
The whip is never cracked but there is definite encouragement to be generous but only as a result of the working of God’s grace, supremely experienced in Christ. 
Did you notice the reasoning in 8:8-9 – 
I am not commanding you … … For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that through his poverty you might become rich

Best wishes from, your friend, the Garden Codger

The quotations from the Bible can be checked here
Note that our chosen title The Grace of Giving comes at the end of 2 Cor 8:7

Relief for persecuted Christians today can investigated here

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