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. [2 corinthians 9:10]
“God’s provision” is one of those Christianese phrases that we say a lot, but never really stop and think about its real meaning. provision is defined in the dictionary as something which is supplied or provided. so God’s perfect provision is all the ways he provides for us physically, spiritually, and missionally.
verses that immediately come to mind when we think of God’s provision tend to be more focused on our physical needs:
look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. are you not of more value than they? [matthew 6:26]
the young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. [psalm 34:10]
the eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. you open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. [psalm 145:15-16]
but far more plentiful in scripture are verses about how God provides for our spiritual needs and the needs of those living obediently on mission for him [2 peter 1:3; philippians 4:19; matthew 21:22] . in today’s verse, paul wants the corinthians to know that God is the provider of the seed. God is the only one capable of equipping people to do his work.
and so in this verse we receive a clarification and a promise. yes, our resources are helpful. when our hands are wide open with resources the Lord can use them in mighty ways. the resources provided by the corinthians and the other early churches would relieve some of the poverty and burden the Christians in jerusalem were bearing.
here’s the clarification: God provides the seed. the resources are his, he gives abundantly. and our response to truly recognizing this is cheerful generosity.
here’s the promise: he will give the seed, and he will increase the harvest.
in non-metaphorical terms – God provides the resources – his word, the holy spirit, situations in which to be faithful, money and other means, and even the laborers with which he plans to advance his gospel [matthew 9:37]. the laborers are simply the vessel he chooses to use, and in his great grace toward us – he increases our righteousness in the process.
ask yourself today
- where have i relied on myself to provide “the seed” for the harvest?
- how has my self-reliance caused me to shy away from obedience to Christ and the advancement of the gospel in my context?
- consider what “the harvest of your righteousness” might look like and meditate on the impossibility of reaping a righteous harvest without Christ providing the seed.
for the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the spirit will from the spirit reap eternal life. and let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. [galatians 6:8-9]
~ erin boettge