How You Give, Where You Give and What You Give
Kimberly N. Alleyne
The Harvest Magazine, Publisher and Editor
I Chronicles 16:11, Proverbs 11:8, Proverbs 22:8, Psalm 126:5, Galatians 6: 7-10,
Matthew 13: 8
Sowing and reaping is one of the oldest and most basic principles of the Holy Bible. It’s simple: whatever you put out comes back to you — and often times in a greater measure or quantity. Think about your local farmer who plants a few seeds and is later rewarded with rows and rows of crops. The same is so with God.
Sowing and then waiting for a return on what you sow can sometimes be a protracted experience. While the principle of sowing and reaping is simple, there are a few parts of the process to keep in mind — heart, soil and seed. When these elements are aligned, God will blow your mind! He will make rivers flow in the desert, and cause you to reap a bounty in dry places.
So, you’re sowing and giving, huh? You’re sowing and giving, but you’re not reaping any rewards? Well, lets look at your heart. Are you harboring anger, bitterness or unforgiveness for someone? Have you told yourself that you “just can’t forgive” her for what she did? Are you nursing 30-year-old offenses? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you’ll be waiting forever to reap a reward.
Why? Because the Lord tells us to forgive our brothers (and that edict actually applies to our enemies, too) 70×7 — that means ad infinitum. The model is to forgive, release and bless them, no matter how deep the pain is. And trust me, i know how difficult that is. I’ve forgiven racists, sexists, people who lied to me and lied about me, cheaters, abusers, users, manipulators, back-biters, those who hated me, those who longed for my failure….it never gets any easier, but forgiveness is actually a type of sowing.
If 70×7 isn’t clear enough, He tells us in Matthew 5:24 that even if we are already AT the altar preparing to give and we realize that there is a break in a relationship, that we must go fix it — even before we leave our gift! In other words, your offering is of no value to Him if your heart is muddled with offense. Ask God to take inventory of your heart, and show you what is polluting it. He’ll definitely answer; just be prepared to repent and change when He does.
*JOURNEY MARKER: He doesn’t tell us not to be influenced by or responsive to offense because that would be futile. (Offense is inevitable, and our responses of sadness or anger, or both are inevitable, too.) However, He does tell us to walk in a greater measure of love and maturity following offense. God wastes nothing, and that includes offense.
THINK YOU CAN’T FORGIVE? WATCH THIS VIDEO!
The other thing about your heart condition, and sowing and reaping is your motivation. Ummm, are you giving here and there and everywhere because you want your name on a marquee? This isn’t about you, it’s about GOD. He deserves ALL of the glory, not any of us.
Because you think it will erase your sins? We’ve already been redeemed, bought with a price for a purpose. We were saved by grace. There is nothing more to do other than enjoy the benefits of salvation. (Ephesians 1:7-10; Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:24)
Because you want to be promoted or increased, either spiritually or professionally? Because you think it will make God love you more? Think about the depth and width of God’s love — it can’t get any bigger. And promotion comes from the Lord — that means our acts, nor anyone else’s affect our promotion or increase. There’s nothing we can do to move to the head of the class. (Psalm 75:6-7)
Giving to show God your faith or to even increase your own faith is another story; but God will not breathe on your offerings that are rooted in impure and vain motives.This is really what James meant. Faith without proof –our works– is of no consequence if we are not backing up what we profess to believe with actions. (James: 3: 14-26; Matthew 6: 1-4)
What exactly are you sowing and how are you sowing it? Are you sowing your absolute best? Are you sowing your money, time, counsel or gifts begrudgingly? Is your giving a real sacrifice? When you donate clothes, do you donate items that are worn and raggedy and unfit to be passed on? Or are you passing on things that are hard to part with because they are in mint condition, or are expensive? Are you giving money that you could actually use? That’s real sacrifice.
What you sow — your seed — and how you sow are very important. Giving for the sake of giving, just to feel good about yourself, or for the opportunity to boast about your giving simply does not work. There is no merit in that.
It’s All Good Ground!
Where are you sowing? I recently heard an electrifying revival sermon delivered by Pastor
Marshall Blackmond during his visit to Beth-EL Temple C.O.G.I.C. in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. (Dwight Hunt, Senior Pastor). During his sermon, Pastor Blackmond talked about the importance of sowing; and he shared how the Lord spoke to him one day about ground. We’ve been taught that we must sow into good ground, but the truth is we won’t necessarily know the type of soil we’re seeding into. And as Blackmond says the Lord explained to him, “There is no bad ground. All ground is good because I made it.” Agree!!
TIMING: “Sow Forward, And Look Backward to See Your Harvest”
Pastor Steven R. Woods (Senior Pastor, Living Word Faith Center) recently spoke to the Harvest Women’s Prayer and Learning Group on the topic of “soul prosperity.” He explained that sowing is an essential part of prosperity. He said something that stuck with me: “Sow forward, and look back to see your harvest. You can’t sow and look ahead to see your harvest; your harvest is behind you.” Awesome!! You can hear his teaching on soul prosperity here. Sowing and reaping takes time; it is not intended to be an overnight process. (Psalm 126:4-6)
In the meantime, get your heart, soil and seed in shape, and prepare to see the Lord’s bounty pouring out over your life!