"These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up" Deuteronomy 6:6-7
"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously." 2 Corinthians 9:6
Sowing and reaping. Boy, do we hear a lot of things about sowing and reaping, and it's almost always in connection with offerings- or giving money. They're fantastic messages, and I've been thinking a lot lately on giving. I have thoughts that I'm still musing and keeping an eye out for scripture to discuss, but today, I wanted to share some real life examples of sowing and reaping. As I mentioned, we hear these verses quite a bit, but it wasn't until recently that I heard the message that when the Bible talks about reaping and sowing- it doesn't just mean money.
Yet, I'm going to start with money, and then I'm going to move on to other money things. A few years ago, when we were in a time of transition with churches, we were in the pickle of needing a place to give too. We didn't have a home church for a time, and weren't sure where our tithes should be going. Should we tithe at every church we explore? Should we consider a charitable organization for a time instead? Well, I'll tell you, God laid a local ministry on our heart during that time- and that organization received our tithes and offerings for several months. Honestly? I hadn't thought about that until just this week, because I think God brought it to mind. Andy has been away for six weeks total now studying and learning things about construction. This is his last week for now, and as I thought about the times he's gone down, do you know I think people were giving him money every time he went? Some people gave him just a few dollars- some gave him more- but I don't think a week went by where someone wasn't pressing money into his hands.
I thought about that this week, because we've both come to the conclusion that the things he's been learning are going to have a direct impact on a path of ministry someday. And just as we sowed for a time into a new ministry, it's very interesting to reap the benefits of that sowing, as we seek direction from God for what we are to do with this new learning. This didn't occur to me until just now- that these people sowing into what Andy is doing could very well be a message from God that he is to take these recent thoughts he's been having and run with them... there will be more to come on this, I'm sure.
But what about sowing and reaping other things? I mean, I plant pea seeds and I reap a harvest of peas. I plant one seed- and I get a whole plant that gives me many peas- that's one of the beautiful things about the principle of sowing and reaping. Your harvest is always more than what you put in. Go to that verse above- sow sparingly, reap sparingly; sow generously, reap generously. It's a simple matter of principle there. If I plant a whole package of pea seeds I will have a bountiful harvest of pea plants and peas. If I plant just a few seeds, I will get just a few plants.
But did you know that when you give something from the heart- it doesn't matter what it is- God keeps track and brings it back to you ten-fold? I have some wonderful examples that God has brought to light in recent weeks.
Some time back, we had company for dinner one night- a family who is just always on our hearts, and we just love them so much. They have kids younger than ours, and one night after dinner, just before they left, Andy felt strongly that we needed to give them clothing. Hey- that was awesome- Andy went to the basement and pulled out two totes full of clothes for their kids. We didn't give it another thought- we were just happy to pass them on to someone who we knew could use them. But if you'll recall, back around Thanksgiving I shared how God provided clothing for my kids. Those two totes of clothes we gave in love came back to us multiplied! We filled our kids closets with what was given to us in love. We sowed clothing, and we reaped clothing- how cool is that? God remembered when we gave, and when someone was looking to get rid of their children's clothes, he placed us on their heart and blessed us so incredibly!
There's also this matter of time. Ah yes, our old friend time- I have a big post in the back of my mind on time, but did you know that when you sow time you reap time back? Time is something that God gave to us- and yet so many of us let it control us. Again this week, I was thinking about this principle of sowing and reaping, and I was reminded of all the time that I have given to God in the past. At first I just kind of shrugged it off, because I didn't think it was that much time- but do you know, for about three years I cleaned our church weekly and diligently? I think in all that time I missed maybe four weeks. And while I was happy to do it at the time, what I didn't realize was that my heavenly time clock was adding up big time. Because as I sowed all that time, generously, I am now reaping loads of time.
And what do I mean by that? I mean that lately I've noticed that I always have time for everything- with time to spare. We had company one day last weekend, and we cleaned the house a bit, but it seemed like we had everything cleaned up in half the time, and then we had half a day staring at us with nothing to do. And it's like that almost every day it seems! School in the last few months has gone remarkably well, and we get done and it's like, huh, I have a long time until I need to figure dinner or we need to get ready to head out for one activity or another. And then! I can't tell you the last time we had to rush to go somewhere. We take our time getting ready for church or dance, and we head out the door with time to spare. Time is simply not an issue for us- there is always more- it seems that each and every day I have plenty of time to get everything done that I want to get done. And having time working for us means no stress! Take today as a great example! Andy's coming home tonight, and I always like him to come home to a fairly clean house. But on top of that, our landlord is showing our place twice- at two different times, and then, just for kicks, I thought it would be fun to have company over and make a turkey dinner. And you know what? I have a lot to do today- but it's going to run smoothly- like cream.
" when my path was drenched with cream
and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil" Job 29:6
Our paths these days are like they are coated with cream and olive oil. They are smooth sailing- there is always extra time to get where we need to, and to do what we need to. It's amazing how the principle of sowing and reaping can be applied to something like time!
But I think I'm going to come back to money and the principle of sowing and reaping. Only this time, I'm going to share it with a twist. Last year at this time, I was on my way to dance with the kids when I felt a really strong prompting, like I needed to pay someone else's bill at the dance school. I'll admit, I kind of wrestled with God about that on that drive. While we could afford to do so, Andy also wasn't working at the time yet, and every penny counted for us. But when we got to the school, I obeyed, I went to the counter and got another family's account caught up to date. I was rewarded instantly with that warm fuzzy feeling, and thought that was that. I was happy to be able to bless someone in an unexpected way.
Fast forward eight months and at this same dance school, Andy learns that the lighting designer from years past is no longer with the school. Of all the things that could come up- it would be the one task that no one other than Andy knows how to do. Just like that, he is signed on as the lighting designer for the dance school- and oh, by the way, don't worry about paying for Abigail's classes. Talk about reaping what we've sown! When we figured out how much we haven't had to pay for dance classes- it works out to about ten times what I paid months before on someone else's account. And even better, for us, Andy also gets plenty of opportunity to bless this dance school and the people who work there- all while being a witness AND sharpening some of his skills that may have been getting a little rusty.
God is just so good!! And I'll tell you, just typing this all out this morning, I can't help but say that reminding myself of all these things is a great reminder that God is our provider. He truly is Jehovah Jireh at all times. All those times over the years that we may have sown something here or there- God remembers each and every one. He remembers every bag of groceries we take to the food pantry- and this past winter we received that back with an abundance in our pantry and freezer while Andy was not working. It's amazing! It also gets me excited, because as we're remembering these things that we're seeing revisited to us, we're also remembering a lot of other areas where we have sown, and we're excited to see how God is faithful. We're excited to add to our testimony of God providing through the principle of sowing and reaping. When you sow generously, you reap generously. It's a fact. If you sow stingily, you'll reap stingily. This is so much more than sowing your finances!
Okay, one more story because it just came to me. In years past, we have spent time over the Christmas season organizing giving gifts to the local Salvation Army. Oh, we always loved doing that. We would organize our church body to sponsor a family or two- and we'd also give some of the gifts. In fact, I remember taking gifts that I'd purchased for our kids and adding them to the gifts we were taking in, because I just felt such a need.
Well, we all know what happened this past Christmas. Christmas gifts for our children were pouring in this year from strangers around the country. God is faithful! We sowed Christmas gifts, we reaped Christmas gifts!
The goodness of God is never-ending, and the principle of sowing and reaping is one of the many tools He uses to bless His children. The moral of the story is to not ignore that nudging to give something. Whether it be your time, money, stuff, use of your car for a time- whatever it is, give it- and give it joyfully and generously. God will remember, and when you need a car to use, He will remember the time you shared yours and will provide in abundance. Isn't God amazing!