I have been reading Luke. I enjoy the atmosphere of the narrative of this report of Luke on the life of Jesus. He uses a very sober, almost analytical style, but now and then the raw excitement about this man Jesus that he describes, breaks through and the sheer magnificence of a miracle shines in every word.
Luke 6 is well worth reading. I want to touch on one principle of godly living that we can immediately apply in everything we do. It is the principle of seed-faith. Have you heard of it? God establishes the rhythms of the earth just after the Flood.
“While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat,
Winter and summer,
And day and night
Shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:22)
By declaring the seasons, the daily light and dark, the time of planting and the time of harvest and the weather patterns, God establishes a principle of certainty. The inevitability of the sequence of daybreak after a night institutes the pulse of life.
The summer is coming. We know by September it is Fall. We give it names because it is certain. We can do it because we have the guarantee of the unwavering coming and going of many, many past seasons.
God connects this drumbeat of the universe to the assurance of his Word.
“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:10,11)
The principle of seedtime and harvest is established. Many things that Jesus said were illustrated with regards to the agricultural year. The people knew the phases of the growing season from childhood. Everything happened according to the season, including the Feasts of Worship were celebrated with regards to the harvest – think of Pentecost and the Feast of the Tabernacles.
The principle of seed-faith is an important part of my mother’s testimony. When she was in great stress and financial despair in the early 1970s, she told us how the Bible was almost veiled in mystery. She tried to read it, knowing it is God’s word and the key to her restoration. She said it was “closed” for her. She tried but could not make sense. In her shelf, she found an old leaflet of Oral Roberts’ monthly publication on Seed Faith. As she embraced the basic concept of sowing out of your need, the Holy Spirit sparked hope in her heart to gently lead her back into the Word, which became the core of her existence and her ministry of teaching and writing.
We are in a season now. We call is shutdown, lockdown, stay home – whatever comes to mind. It is a season of media rule – good and bad. We hear the news from all over, but we also hear the Word of God from all over. We need discernment and wisdom. We need the Holy Spirit.
Two key words in this regard will illustrate the principle: sowing and reaping. In the Spirit-realm it is: expectation and abundance. The passage in Luke 6 starts with a strong sense of reciprocity.
“Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:37,38)
Give and it will be given to you – this principle establishes a pathway for miracles. It is a principle for finances and for relationships. Sowing is difficult when there is lack, shortage and fear. It is then when the giving away, the love with abandon is difficult. It is a step of faith over the cliff when the overwhelming abundance of what God says should be sown into the people around you, WITH the expectation of receiving back. Receiving has to be very clear in your mind. You have to know the Word, believe it and apply it.
This pathway calls us to give when we ourselves are in need. To give out of your need. If you need love and appreciation, then sow love and appreciation. If you need money, then sow money.
Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality.
For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God. (2 Corinthians 8:1-5)
It seems counterproductive to give out of your own need. But it is a Kingdom principle that clears the avenues of heaven’s abundance towards God’s purposes for ministry that He wants to manifest on earth through us.
There is a law of divine reciprocity. When you sow, the ground cultivates and expounds your seed and yields the harvest of what you have put in. One seed brings forth one plant. Many seeds bring forth many plants. Nothing comes from nothing. You cannot want something from nothing. There are no yields on zero investment.
But… the seed that you sow will produce disproportionally to the size of the seed. For a small investment you will reap a tree with shade and fruit, blessed by the gift of life from you Creator-God Father.
There is a requirement, a condition for the investment of time, talents, commitment and money. God commands us to give. We have to honour and obey that command. Obedience brings us into agreement with His abundance. It is promised and guaranteed. It is as certain as the seasons of the year, the daybreak, the sunset. It is like a gigantic divine gear that starts turning and moving your world into a godly balance to harvest from El Shaddai – the God of Plenty.
Sow and expect the harvest. Keep the growing season in mind. Do not let your soul and mind be discouraged by the unseen growth under the soil and do not despise the small sprout of growth when it appears. Sprouts need extra care if they are going to flourish and bloom.
God expects you to expect a harvest. Our giving is not a debt that is to be paid for salvation. Jesus paid our debts. Everything is already done on the Cross. Therefore, our sowing is for a harvest to yield fruit in our lives. It is not to disappear in the black hole of debt where you do not enjoy the fruit of your labour. We cultivate our seeds with faith.
See your investments in your relationships as LABOUR. Do not shy away from hard work. Know that your life and power source is in Jesus.
The second half of the Scripture: and it will be given unto you. Giving and receiving belong together.
How will the harvest be?
…good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom.
It will be more than you expected. It will be abundance. Keep in mind that it might be different from what you expected. Ask God to open your eyes for the ways in which God decides to deliver your harvest. Remember it will come in due season – God’s timing. In the meantime, you are fully surrendered to relax and rest in His provision.
The eyes of all look expectantly to You, And You give them their food in due season. (Psalms 145:15)
Do not settle for a little. God is in control. Crawl under His wing again. Go into the Secret Place. Seek his Face. Repent, repent, repent. Open up the channels. Let abundance flow. Don’t be afraid of giving in a relationship. God sees. He is your reward. Do not expect from the person. Expect from God and the abundance of heaven.
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)
My prayer for you this day is Ephesians 3 from The Message:
My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in.
And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love.
Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.
Memorize these Scriptures. Plant some seeds in your kitchen window and care for them every day. See your labour of investment as such and realize how long growth is unseen.
A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish planter gets a lavish crop. I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving.
God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done.
As one psalmist puts it,
He throws caution to the winds,
giving to the needy in reckless abandon.
His right-living, right-giving ways
never run out, never wear out.
This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God. (2 Corinthians 9:6-11, The Message)
Jesus says: Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (John 14:13)
Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these, he will do, because I go to my Father.(John 14:12)
Keep your heart set and ready for the next advance in the Kingdom.