"As it is written, He [the benevolent person] scatters abroad; He gives to the poor; His deeds of justice and goodness and kindness and benevolence will go on and endure forever!
10And [God] Who provides seed for the sower and bread for eating will also provide and multiply your [resources for] sowing and increase the fruits of your righteousness [which manifests itself in active goodness, kindness, and charity].
11Thus you will be enriched in all things and in every way, so that you can be generous, and [your generosity as it is] administered by us will bring forth thanksgiving to God." 2 Corinthians 9:9-11 (AMP)
I often hear these verses used in the context of taking an offering. And we should, they are excellent verses to help us build up our faith for making an offering in the first place. In those instances, the offering (money) is our seed, and the more we increase what we are giving, the more God is able to increase what is coming into our storehouse. That's a fact. More than once in our married lives, Andy and I have seen an increase in our finances after a time where we purposed to increase our giving. God works like that, and it is always wonderful, because when we have a time of increase, we can increase our giving even more- and help those who truly need it.
But this morning my thoughts were more in a direction of what other "things" we can sow. What other seed can we sow into different situations? I immediately thought of the seed of time. Time today has become almost as precious as money- so many people have become protective of their time because they just don't have much of it to do as they wish with it. What I like about the concept of sowing time as my seed is that sometimes, there just isn't extra money to do some sowing with. We all go through seasons of life where there just isn't quite enough money to go around, but I'll tell you, every single one of us can probably find an hour or two of extra time to sow. And what you do with the time isn't limited to an offering plate! That's the cool part! With an extra couple of hours you can visit a shut-in and take them a meal. You can visit a sick friend in the hospital, you can give your time to a philanthropic organization- such as a food pantry or homeless shelter. You can give some time to your own church with weekly cleaning, lawn care, or something extra, like freshly painting a long-overdue classroom. You can give time by teaching a class or helping to organize an activity- the options are truly endless.
But the best part about sowing your time is what happens to the rest of your time as a direct result. Since I began cleaning our church one year ago, I have had an abundance of time. Oh, there are the occasional moments where I wish I had a few more hours, but for the most part, each and every day there is more than enough time to get everything accomplished that I want to accomplish. Even better, sometimes I will have entire days where nothing is earmarked, and I can spend the day doing as I wish. It's incredible! Truly, even on the days where I have a fully heaped plate where I have to move from task to task, I always find a little extra time at the end of it. Life overall has become so much more relaxed for me, because I don't feel the stress of time- even with the many activities we have during the week!
But what do you do if you truly don't have the extra time to physically go and do something? A busy mom with a family of little ones barely has time to take a shower everyday, let alone find a few moments to volunteer. That's where you sow something completely different. You sow your prayers, and you sow your tears. A mom who is nursing her new little one has plenty of time to devote to prayers- even if it's just praying for the little one in her arms. Every prayer is important, and every prayer is a seed to sow. I think that those moms who do just that are the women who, in their older years, become the most powerful intercessors in the church, because they've spent so much time already sowing into their prayer life. Sowing prayers is actually something that I think everyone could improve upon. The more prayers we sow, the more it becomes natural to do so. I pray a lot when I'm doing housework- specifically, when I do dishes and fold laundry. I've just found that those are great times to talk to God about what's on my mind. And I know He doesn't mind that I'm multi-tasking either. Sometimes that's the only time we can find to give to talking to Him, and I know that He's more than okay with that.
So whether it be money, time, prayers or tears, there is always something that we can sow. When we hear all those messages about sowing money into something worthwhile, we don't have to feel badly about not being able to do so. What we can do, is ask God for other opportunities to sow what we can. Sometimes that may be a snip of time to help someone out. Sometimes, that opportunity may come in the form of an e-mail asking for prayer. Sometimes, our tears of compassion as we read about a tragedy in the news is opportunity as well. God will provide seed to sow- we just need to be open to what kind of sowing He would have us do. Because sometimes, it's the sowing of money that comes easy. It's the other kinds of sowing that become a sacrifice and a struggle. But God wants them from us all the same.