“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times you may abound in every good work. As it is written, ‘He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.’ He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.” ~2 Cor. 9:6-12
How do I sow as a mother? as a wife? as a friend, daughter, sister? God has been whispering this question to me now for several weeks as He patiently works within me on this point. Do I even view my life as a planting ground with seeds for a future harvest? Or is my life one thing and the way I spend my money the only sowing I need to worry about?
We read these verses and often think about tithing or our money. I can almost discount these verses as I study the book of 2 Corinthians because my knee jerk is to think, “well i tithe and we give willingly to many things” and so walk away from what God wants me to hear in the passage. But if I look at these verses in light of mothering, something beautiful and soul sustaining shows.
Giving in motherhood – it is a requirement from the moment of conception – I will give my body, my time, my affection, my focus to care for this life given to me. And this giving continues for the rest of the child’s life – without pause. We like to think it ends at 18, but I believe it, like marriage, may only be beginning to hit a sweet spot by then. The methods and needs may change but the giving does not.
The parallel relationship of verse 6 is true. Most of us can agree that the more we invest somewhere, the more dividends we receive. Then Paul says in verse 7 we must decide in our heart our giving level. And in the realm of the abstract, I will declare my willingness to give all I am; but in the reality of life, I often quit, withdraw, whine, or feel resentful when the need is great. And often I “run out” of giving as the day progresses – my flesh- bound well has hit the bottom and there is no more to use. This may sound harsh, but God keeps reminding me not to be deceived by the arguments of the world, the enemy, or my flesh that justify my empty well. That commiserate with me about having so many children, or having the difficult child, or the rebellious one. That whisper that if I could just have a day off, or some quiet time by myself (at starbucks!) or an hour with no one fighting, needing, etc. You see, giving is a decision. It should not be tied to the emotion of the moment. The “I don’t know if I can do this today or want to do this today” thoughts need to be vanquished in light of my decision to give wholly of myself. But not because I am just going to suck it up and gut it out.
God is able to make all grace abound to you momma! Not dribble out, not come in bits and spurts but abound – to be plentiful; overflow; exist in large numbers. So that having all sufficiency – we are sufficient because His grace abounds to us. So in the depleted moments I need to run to Him for plenty; in the moments I think I got this, I need to bow my head, for his grace is better than anything I can offer my children. His patience, His joy, His love, His wisdom, His knowledge, His peace, His contentment – these need to be my well from which I draw. Paul covers all my doubts as well – all sufficiency in all things at all times! When I calibrate on His grace, I receive all I need all the time — it is matchless, limitless, boundless! Hallelujah!
And then verses 10-11 – the physical and the spiritual parallel reminiscent of the comparison Jesus drew in the Sermon on the Mount. He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food WILL supply and multiply my seed and increase the harvest. He is the source. My seeds of the Gospel, the picture and experiences of His grace I give my children when I am drawing from your well, Lord – these you multiply. Increase my understanding of grace that I may see it more and more at work in me and thus overflow. And then I will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way.
My shortcomings are His opportunities – I need to allow Him to be the source – to give cheerfully knowing my cup is endless because if flows from His bounty. So I have found in my moments of overwhelming exhaustion or tearful aggravation, His grace is my only hope. His filling of me for the next few hours (until bedtime) or minutes to shepherd a rebellious heart – those are His and need to be viewed in that way. I ask Him to show me my giving and the need for giving in my home – who needs more than my flesh wants to give or realizes is needed?
Giving isn’t a digging down into the last dregs of “niceness” and patience to get to 8 o’clock. It doesn’t look like kindness on the outside and resentment on the inside. Giving looks like the mind of Christ “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in humble form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death.” ~Phil 2:5-8. That my children may see Jesus in me, experience His grace and be softened to hear the Gospel because of what they receive. Just like giving of money often opens doors for the gospel, my mothering sourced in His grace and sufficiency daily declares this gospel to my children. It primes the pump so that a discussion on Christ’s sacrifice and our need is understood.
So why am I walking around frustrated with all I have to do, the overwhelming list of chores coupled with mothering and schooling – never mind all the other roles I have that also make demands? Because my wayward heart believes I can be the source or has forgotten to seek The Source. Both are possible in the moments of life and both demand the recalibration of confession and repentance.
I want to abound. Verse 11 is true – when I am allowing His grace to be the flowing force, the seeds planted and watered are divine, and my heart sings thanksgivings to Him. I see the workings of the Holy Spirit in my home and know that this is His work.