Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. (2 Corinthians 9:6)
We continue our introduction to the biblical keys of Farming God’s Way with an overview of “What You Sow You Will Reap!” The biblical keys are taught in Farming God’s Way as the principles to open the door to abundant living. They are part of a three-fold approach to holistic agriculture which include biblical, management, and technology principles.
Being generous seems to come easy to some people. I know people, am privileged to be friends with a few, for whom being generous with their time, intentionality, possessions and money seems to just flow from who they are. They seem to be somehow wired that way – at least that’s how it feels to me on the receiving side of their generosity. They are generously generous! Their time, and their stuff, seems to have a very loose grip on them indeed. I’m trying to learn to be more generous from people like that!
I am beginning to see that there is, hard-wired in creation, an inverse law of abundance. That is, the more we try to hold on to anything, the less we have to hold on to. Jesus said this about our very lives: “Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.” (Luke 9:24)
And the converse is also true: as we give generously, we also receive generously. Luke 6:38: Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Some of us grow up learning, from our environment, a mindset of lack and of scarcity but creation knows no such thing. Everywhere I look, life brings – more life. Creation keeps giving birth to more. I think there is something good here to ponder (to quote a Steve Bell song).
Sowing and reaping is one of the six biblical keys in Farming God’s Way. We teach smallholder farmers – almost all of whom have learned (through no fault of their own) to function with a mindset of lack, scarcity, and dependency, that it is through giving that we receive.
This begs the question: How can the poor give? There is a simple answer: We, all of us, have more than we think. And it’s not about how much we have, it’s about being faithful with even the little that we do have. Remember the parable of the talents, and the punch line: to the one who is faithful, even with a little, more will be added. But to the one who is unfaithful, even the little that he has will be taken away.
We often think of our good friend Goodman (pictured below) who worked on the Farming God’s Way team in Bhekulwandle for some years. Goodman was not a rich man in the sense of finances, housing or possessions. He was, however, incredibly industrious and at any one time he held down a job and at least 2 or 3 other business ventures. Goodman took great pride in cultivating a demonstration garden in Bhekulwandle where he would reap wonderful harvests for people in need.
It is indeed possible to give, even when we feel that we possess very little. We give, for example, through our relationships. To the degree that we give to the people around us of our time, talents and love, is the degree to which we build community.
We give through investing ourselves in work. 2 Thessalonians states bluntly, “If a man will not work neither should he eat.” Work is an opportunity that we have often undervalued. Goodman was always working and being faithful with his time. He even trained to run the Comrades Marathon — a momentous accomplishment! Being faithful with our time can include learning or training for something. Work around our homes can reap huge reward when we care for what we’ve been given.
Some important questions we challenge ourselves and our trainees with: Where does land lie idle when careful stewardship should be resulting in abundant returns? How much better would our resources serve us if we were diligent in maintenance and improvements?
We can give ourselves generously in all these ways. Work grants us the blessing of being active implementers. There is huge satisfaction after engagement in a project that improves our wellbeing. We should not expect others only to give us jobs in order to work. With a little observation we are certain to identify areas that we can contribute to and we can get started immediately.
We give through our land. It is no coincidence that the teachers of the Bible, and even Jesus himself, often used agriculture analogies to explain truth. There are clear results in farming related to, “What you sow, you will reap.” How will we reap a harvest if we don’t plant a seed? When we prepare to plant, how abundantly do we sow our inputs? How can we expect to receive from the soil if we are not willing to invest in and nurture its fertility? If we keep taking from the soil, we will see the depletion and degradation, and a failed harvest is guaranteed. We need to invest seed, fertilizer and other inputs (in our case compost and wood ash), labour, time, management and capital in order to hope to have any harvest at all. As we invest, we will see our resources multiplying.
We have this incredible promise, “Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”2 Cor 9:10-11
The truths of this biblical key follow solidly out of the first biblical key we looked at in a previous blog, “Understanding God’s All Sufficiency.” He supplies us with resources to invest. It is our job to invest wisely and diligently.
What You Reap, You will Sow,” is a challenge to all of us to:
- Sow Bountifully
- Sow Knowledgeably
- Sow Faithfully
- Sow Joyfully
It is a call to give our best investment to managing and stewarding what we have been given. We can sow with our hands, hearts, minds and souls and reap a harvest in all those areas. And the attitude with which we sow is critical because the results of our harvest mirror our mindset at planting. No wonder God loves a cheerful giver!
The call to our hearts is clear. It is more blessed to give than receive. Africa needs givers, and Africans are positioned to be able and abundant givers to the continent and beyond. We all can be a part of making that happen!