By Athena Brockman
You reap what you sow.
Sow generously, reap generously.
Sow often, reap often.
These seem like simple formulas. They are direct and regularly reinforced in our lives. And, though simple, they challenge us.
The challenge is not only to make the time to follow them but to also be intentional when we do. We have opportunities to sow into our world everyday.
But, as Pastor Daren mentioned, “you cannot be generous in your mind.”
A seed of generosity is planted once we GIVE it away, and nothing happens with that seed until we do. We often desire to be generous with our time and our treasures, but it takes varying degrees of effort. Thought alone will not count as a planted seed.
Many of us have such hope for the harvest of planted seeds and we are inspired by the knowledge that:
“The Kingdom of God is like someone who plants seed in the ground. Night and day, whether the person is asleep or awake the seed still grows, but the person does not know how it grows.”
Mark 4:26-27 (NCV)
Even with this knowledge and our hope for the unknown harvests, we struggle to prioritize planting or we lose faith that we’ll ever have enough time to do so.
If our goal as believers is to do our best for God, to not waste the time he has given and to help others find and follow Him, then how often we seize opportunities to sow and whether we are doing so intentionally, matters significantly.
FOR ME, when I fail to sow, it's the product of a pretty frustrating chain of events:
- approach my to-do list overwhelmed by its length and then choose to execute with a negative mindset
- become irritated by my perceived lack of “free” time
- choose to be selfish with the “free” time that eventually appears
- grow resentful that I shouldn’t have to be intentional with a discovered bit of “free” time because, well, my to-do list was really long
- end up frustrated that all of my time was poorly used because I didn’t sow well during my busy or “free” time
This is an embarrassingly flawed routine, especially with all that persistent negativity. Terrible!
The biggest flaw is an unhealthy assessment of time. By pretending external circumstances dictate our time and that there is only the dichotomy of busy and free, we fail to take ownership. We ignore the power of our choices.
In my case, my heart was focused inward because I blamed circumstance for lack of peace with my to-do list and lack of unscheduled time.
However, the ways we manage and perceive time are choices. We have times in our lives when we are busy and less busy, times when we choose to “work hard then play hard”, but -
No time is ever free; all time is a gift, His gift.
When we are busy, rather than adopting a negative attitude or carrying stress, we can honor God by evaluating how/if we are sowing well amid our busyness and whether we have filled our overwhelming days purposefully. If we desire to be intentional with gifted time, we must not wait for fewer busy days or more ideal moments to plant seeds.
“Those who wait for perfect weather will never plant seeds; those who look at every cloud will never harvest crops.
Ecclesiastes 11:4 (NCV)
If we wait, we’ll miss opportunities. If we hoard our “free” time, we’ll miss opportunities.
So, open that calendar and come up with a plan to plant. Let’s look for the small windows we can easily use.
Let us sow by using moments between meetings to connect with coworkers, finally calling that old friend during an upcoming car trip, dedicating the next home church gathering to a service project, reevaluating the family Christmas budget to find more room for generous donations, signing up for a church team to serve on a Sunday we are already attending, and inviting new friends into our homes for parties we already have planned. God has given each of us gifts that we can use to sow and benefit his people.
We have so many existing opportunities but we can forget to utilize them when we don’t take the time to notice.
For some of us, the call to plant more seeds will require some extra challenge too. We may need to prioritize our time differently if we are consistently choosing busyness over planting.
“Let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing, if we don’t get discouraged and give up.”
Galatians 6:9 (LB)
Whatever our first steps are, our desires can be realities if we don’t give up. By responding to God, adopting a positive mindset, and using our time wisely, we can be the sowers we are destined to be. We will reap exactly what we plant (Galatians 6:7b, TEV).
HOW WILL YOU FIND WAYS TO SOW SEEDS THIS WEEK? WHERE OR HOW IS GOD CALLING YOU TO PLANT?
Click Here to listen to Brave Faith Project Pt. 6