Sowing liberally

You will not find a successful farmer who has a miserly heart. In faith, the farmer literally has to throw his precious seed onto the ground and leave it there. If he is reluctant to part with the seed, he will keep that which he holds in his hand, but it will never become more than that. He has to let it go.


In the parable of the sower, Jesus tells us that some seed fell on the path, some fell on rocky soil, and some fell among weeds. One's immediate thought is that this farmer was a bit careless in sowing his seed. Sometimes we prefer our ministry to be neat and organized—like a vegetable patch, where seeds are spaced evenly and neatly in rows. But this farmer looked past his vegetable patch to the field beyond and saw the potential. Let's face it; ministry can be messy at times. When we go into the world where the hearts of people have become hard from being trampled on, or calloused by a materialistic mindset; where people's lives are cluttered with activities and centered around maintaining their image; where fear and worry threatens to choke the life out of them, we should not be surprised if the seed of truth does not yield a full harvest. Did Jesus have a hundred percent success in His ministry? Think of the rich young ruler who could not be persuaded to follow Him, or the inhabitants of His hometown who would never see the power of God because of their unbelief.

When we sow into God's kingdom, we should put our calculators away and trust God rather than worry about the return on 'our investment.' Paul states; "Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously." Some seed will fall on good soil. But like the farmer in the parable, sometimes we will get it wrong, sometimes our generosity will be exploited, sometimes we will be disappointed. But if we are overcautious, we are likely to become bored and unfulfilled; for if we don't go out and take risks, we will never be part of those who return with songs of joy as they bring in the harvest (Psalm 126:5-6).

Two thoughts: firstly, we should focus on the ground that the Lord has entrusted to us. Secondly, we should sow whenever the Spirit prompts us. "Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction" 2 Timothy 4:2. Too often we wait for the 'right time' only to find that the opportunity has passed us by. Instead of hesitating for fear that we get it wrong, the Bible encourages us to sow liberally: “Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well” Ecclesiastes 11:6.

Although the seed refers primarily to the Word of God, the principal holds true for whatever good we sow into God's kingdom; be it a gift, an act of kindness or a word of encouragement. It is all part of preparing the soil—the hearts of those we mingle with every day. When we do things with the good attitude, and we have the right motive—to glorify God, we can confidently leave the results to Him (Mark 4:26-29). And one day, when the harvest is in, we will hear Him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up" Galatians 6:9.