Summary: Biblical principles of giving

Enlarge Your Harvest

(7 Laws of Sowing and Reaping)

When I was in high school, my parents were divorced and I lived with my mom near Chicago, but my dad had a farm in Antigo Wisconsin, So during the summers a couple times I went up there and worked on his farm. Sometimes it was fun when I was driving the tractors, but sometimes it was backbreaking like when I was picking rocks out of the field. And being on the farm all summer, I’d hear my dad talk about the problems of farming, and the pests, and the freezes and droughts, the floods, the energy costs, the land costs, equipment costs the labor costs – but I can’t ever recall him complaining about the cost... of seed. And eventually I came to understand why. My dad looked at his equipment as an expense, because he knew his tractors and equipment were going to depreciate and break down at some point, He looked at fuel as an expense He looked at labor as an expense, although he didn’t pay me very much… pretty small expense, But in his mind, seed was not an expense, It was an investment. He knew his tractors would depreciate and fuel would be consumed and labor would be expended, but SEED was fundamentally different. because seed, once planted, didn’t depreciate, or deteriorate or evaporate. It did just the opposite. It MULTIPLIED. It brought a return, greater than itself. Hopefully a return large enough to cover the expenses of the tractors, the fuel and labor hopefully a return large enough to even produce a profit. Money paid for seed is not an expense but an investment. Undoubtably the most important investment of all. What’s the point? How do you think God tells us, that you and I should think about the money we give to God? God says, Don’t view giving to Me as a debt you owe but as a seed you sow. This morning I want to talk about what the Bible says on sowing and reaping, but I have to make a disclaimer first. Have you ever been surfing through the TV channels, and you come across a TV preacher, and of course he has the puffy hair, and maybe a white suit that you wouldn’t be caught dead in, and he has the Rolex watch, And it seems like they are always talking about money, right? I mean, he does have to make the payments on his Cadillac. But when he talks about money, he always talks about sowing and reaping. If you just sow into my ministry, and send off your check off today, and then God will bless you, 100 fold, and you can have a Cadillac just like me. Well, when I see that, it makes me want to throw up. It makes me embarrassed to be a pastor at times. Why? Because there’s a spirit of manipulation, They try to turn God’s principles into a scheme to get rich, but its just manipulation, and nobody likes to be manipulated. But the truth is, the principles of sowing and reaping are very Biblical, and absolutely true. Just because some cheesy tv preacher tries to use it to get rich, it doesn’t mean the scripture is wrong. So I want to talk about these principles from scripture today, but do it with integrity and without manipulation, We’re going to be talking today about, 7 laws of sowing and reaping. The first law we find in the bible, is that If you sow, you will always have a harvest. But if you don’t, you won’t. 2 Cor 9:6-11 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. …Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us, your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. Now, when a farmer looks out at his empty field, in early spring he knows, “If I don’t get any crops, I’m going bankrupt.” But he doesn’t worry and complain about it, and go, “Oh, my poor, empty field.” what am I gonna do. No, he doesn’t worry. He just goes out and starts sowing, planting some seed. Now if he only has a little bit of seed, he has a choice. “I can either keep this seed, and hold on to it, hoard it, or I can give it away.” by putting it in the ground. Now, if he holds onto it, that’s all he’s got, but if he gives it away, it gets multiplied back to him. Matthew 25:29 NLT To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. This is the person who sows seed, and it multiplies, and he has an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. This person holds on tightly to the seed, doesn’t sow it, it doesn’t produce any more, and so, very quickly its gone. What little he had is gone. It’s the principle, What You Keep, Is All You Have, What You Give, God Multiplies. Now when a farmer looks at his seed, does he say, boy I really like my seed, I like having lots of seed, I don’t want to put my seed in the ground, because if I do, I won’t have as much, so I don’t want to give it away, by putting it into the ground. What if I never get it back, and run short of seed. And besides, there’s other people out there who have a lot more seed than me, they can put their seed in the ground, but I want to hold on tightly to my seed. No, that’s not what farmers do, They understand, when you plant your seed, its an investment, because a harvest is coming, and they’re going to get a lot more from that harvest, then they ever would if they held onto the seed. What You Keep Is All You Have, What You Give God Multiplies. God wants us to understand that when we give our tithe, our 10% of our income that the Bible talks about, then we are planting seeds, and God will bring a harvest. I got a note from a family in our church, who were having some real financial difficulties, But they decided to start tithing, despite already being short… and the note says, “Monday a lady came into my office and handed me some money and said, “I have been needing to give you this” and left quickly. I opened up the folded cash and it was the exact amount for our utility bill due this week! That seed you’re sowing is an investment. not an expense, or a debt, or an obligation, its an investment that is one day going to bring a harvest, God will make sure of that. But he also says that if we don’t plant seed, if we withhold our tithe, then there will be no harvest, No investment, no return. So the first law, is that If you sow, you will always have a harvest. But if you don’t, you won’t. The second law, You reap the same kind of seed that you sow. This should be obvious. If I plant corn seed, I don’t get wheat, if I plant tomatoes, I don’t get onions. If I plant apple seed, I don’t get pears. If I plant pear seed, I don’t get oranges. You reap the same kind of seed that you sow. And this is important because This principle of sowing and reaping applies to every area of life, not just finances. Gal 6:7-9 TNIV People reap what they sow. Those who sow to please their sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; those who sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good… Most of the sowing and reaping scriptures in the bible do refer to money, but this one shows that the laws of sowing and reaping actually apply to all areas of life. He’s saying that you can choose to do things that will please your selfish nature,, or you can choose to please the Spirit, by doing good for others, but either way, you reap what you sow. This is true of all areas of life, If you sow criticism, you’re going to reap criticism from other people. If you sow kindness to people, you’re gonna reap kindness from others. If you sow seeds of love, you’re going to reap love. If you sow seeds of hate, you’re going to get hate back. If you invest time in developing friends, then you’ll reap friendships. If you sow seeds of gossip, or dishonesty, or deceit, you’re going to reap those things in your life. Whatever you reap, you sow. And you reap the same kind of seed that you sow. That’s why kids grow up with so many of the character traits of their parents. That’s the reason for the old saying, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, Its because the parents have been sowing those apple seeds for years, and that seed will bring a harvest, whether good fruit or bad, Whatever I sow, I’m gonna reap in life. And if I sow generously financially, I will reap generously financially. The 3rd Law: You always reap later than you sow. You don’t have to be around a farm too long to learn that both growth and decay take time. You plant in one season, you harvest in the next. This is also true for all areas of life. whether its marriage, kids, friendships, career, your health, You plant seeds in one season, but the harvest comes later, In fact you may continue to reap the harvest for years and years, or even the rest of your life, because the seed continues to multiply. If you think about your health, if you plant seeds of exercise and weight loss, and healthy eating this year, does it just benefit you this year? No, you’ll reap benefits for the rest of your life. You’re planting seeds, and you reap what you sow, but you always reap later than you sow the harvest doesn’t happen instantly. Gal 6:9 TNIV Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. At the proper time, not instantly. Every gardener and every farmer understands that You reap later than you sow there’s an interval of waiting required.

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