(scroll to the bottom to watch the full teaching)
There was a knock on the door of the hut occupied by a missionary in the Philippines. Answering, the missionary found one of the native boys holding a large fish in his hands.
The boy said: “Pastor, you taught us what sowing and reaping is, so here—I’ve brought you a seed-faith offering.” As the missionary gratefully took the fish, he questioned the kid, “If this is your seed-faith offering, what is your family going to eat tonight?”
At this, the boy beamed and said: “Oh, I’m going to catch them now. The harvest is back in the river.”
This little boy was onto something. He knew that once he’s sown his seed, he had the right to expect a harvest. How do you decide the size of your financial seed? Let me share the four-step process I take when preparing to sow a financial seed.
Step 1: CONNECT with God.
Sowing a financial seed is a spiritual process. According to Paul, “And God, who supplies seed for the sower and bread to eat, will also supply you with all the seed you need and will make it grow and produce a rich harvest from your generosity” (2 Corinthians 9:10, GNT). He wasn’t talking about agricultural seeds. He was speaking about money.
Since God is the supplier of seed and the harvest planting is a spiritual activity, connecting with Him is wise. I usually bathe the planting opportunity in prayer, sometimes adding fasting. This is done over several days. I don’t want my decision to simply be a financial one.
Prayer helps to overcome the confusion that planting a financial seed is merely giving money away. In reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Although the gift will go towards a worthy cause or the work of ministry, God views my gift as seed. And it’s not just a seed. It’s my seed that He’ll make grow to produce a rich harvest. Therefore, I connect with God to ensure my giving is genuine and heartfelt versus insincere or obligatory.
Step 2: COMMUNICATE with family and friends.
Most people nowadays are far removed from the farm. By default, the principle of sowing and reaping also becomes far removed from our lives. It’s never that way with farmers. Not in Bible days, nor in our day. The farmer in a very special sense is made to see his dependence upon God each season. From the time he sows the seed to the day he sees the corn in the ear, he’s dependent upon the Lord.
He’s dependent for sunshine and showers in every season so the grains can ripen for harvest. The farmer must look up, for where else can he look? He must leave his business in the Lord’s hands, for who else can be his helper?
What would happen if you communicated your newfound knowledge about sowing and reaping with friends and relatives? Who knows, God may use you to help change their destiny.
Step 3: CONSIDER your giving potential.
Immediately after a pastor made an appeal in church for a great and worthy cause, a member of the church approached him with a check for $50, asking at the same time if her gift was satisfactory. The pastor instantly replied, “If it represents you.”
There was a moment of soul-searching by the woman and she asked to have the check back. A day or two later she returned, handing the pastor a check for $5,000 and again asked the same question, “Is my gift satisfactory?” The pastor gave the same answer as before, “If it represents you?” As before, a truth seemed to be driving deeply in her heart. After a few moments of hesitation, she took back the check and left.
Later in the week she came again with a check. This time it was for $50,000. As she placed it in the pastor’s hand, she said, “After earnest, prayerful thought, I have come to the conclusion that this gift does represent me and I am happy to give it.”
Since sowing is a spiritual process, strive to develop your giving potential. After all, you must grow in every area of life. This includes your financial life.
Step 4: COMMIT to practicing generosity.
God encourages generosity. When Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only…” (John 3:16, italics mine), this selfless act modeled the greatest act of generosity. Generosity is not the amount of your financial gift. Generosity has to do with the value of that gift to you.
Paul weighs in when he told the Corinthians, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7, NIV).
Commit to practicing generosity—because this year’s seed determines next year’s harvest!