“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” Galatians 6:7
Early in 1998 I decided to conduct an experiment. “That’s a pretty specific recollection,” you might say. “The experiment must have made an impression.” Yes, it did. It followed an unspectacular epiphany a few months earlier when, sitting on my living room sofa one November afternoon, I suddenly realized many of the good things God had promised were never going to happen to me unless I changed my ways.
I was struggling financially at that time. Behind in my bills. Caught in a cycle of minimum payments on high interest debt. So I decided to put Malachi 3:10 to the test by beginning to tithe. None of this “Should I tithe off the gross or the net?” debate. If tithing were holy, if it represented the firstfruits going to the Lord, then He got His cut before anyone else. End of story. So I sat down and identified the ministries from which I was being fed and I began writing checks. Remember, I didn’t have enough to pay my bills BEFORE this. A creditor challenged me about my giving on the phone one day. “How can you give to a church when you owe it to us?” Good question. Yet, how could I not? I owed the Lord too.
I can’t tell you now how it happened, but in a very short time somehow my bills were caught up. And they’ve been paid on time ever since, lo these five years. My credit union and the car dealer actually got into a bidding war to get the loan for the last car I bought. I got a great rate. Do I believe the law of sowing and reaping applies to our cash? No argument you might devise to dissuade me could compete with the results of my successful experiment. Yes! You bet I do!
But that’s only filthy lucre, the least of all the good seed we have to sow. It pleases the Lord for us to return mere material blessing to those who have lavished spiritual wealth on us (1 Corinthians 9:11), but turning loose of our cash is only a beginning, a very small baby step of a beginning, in learning to give. Dr. Jack Hayford wrote a wonderful book about it some time back called, “The Key To Everything”. It’s a life-changing read. What is the key to everything? It’s giving. Giving our money. Giving our talents. Giving our time. Our love. Our best. It’s forgiving, too.
Let’s not kid ourselves. Too often, we are like farmers who don’t farm. Who don’t till the hardened fallow ground. Who don’t plant. Who never reap. Owning a farm doesn’t make one a farmer. Working a farm does. Farmers farm. An action that looks like sowing and reaping in fields all day. Believers believe. An action that also looks like sowing and reaping in fields all day.
I’m looking for a bumper crop this year. Last year was a fine year for sowing. But beyond the fence line are fields I haven’t touched. I’d like to get some of this year’s increase into that good ground. Who knows how far the borders of the farm might stretch if the land is tended year after year, crop after crop? Who knows how many the land might feed in the end?
I never knew such simple work could be so satisfying, but after a while it gets in your blood.