Introduction: These are laws because God stands behind them (v. 7)
Last week we began a series on the Christian and Prosperity. We were looking at 3 John 1-8. John said, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health just as your soul prospers. John delighted in Gaius’ soul-prosperity, but he also wanted him prospering socially, in his marriage, in his economics and in everything that he did. But we saw that that doesn’t happen automatically in the Christian life. There are certain things that need to be in place. And we looked at seven characteristics of the prosperity which God blesses us with when we walk in the truth. Now we won’t repeat those today. You’ll have to listen to the sermon tape if you missed the first sermon. Actually, I think that either Matt or Keith could probably make you a copy.
Today we are going to look at what some of that truth is that we must walk in. We are not going to look at all of the truth related to prosperity. That’s going to take the whole series. But this passage shows us eight foundational laws of harvest which are expanded on in other passages of Scripture. How do you sow in such a way that you will reap a multiplied increase into God’s kingdom. This passage condenses down into a few verses what covers many chapters in the Old Testament.
Now we are only going to get through the first principle today, but let me give you all eight.
We Reap Only When There Has Been Sowing (v. 7,8 “whatever a man sows, that he will also reap… he who sows...will...reap”; cf. 2 Cor. 9:6; Prov. 19:17; 1 Tim. 6:17-19)
We Reap The Same Kind As We Sow (vs. 7,8 “whatever...that” “flesh...Spirit”; cf. John 3:6-7; Gal. 6:7-8; Job. 4:8; Prov. 26:27; Psalm 7:15-16; James 3:18)
Now that one is a very encouraging as well as a very convicting principle.
We Reap A Multiplied Increase Of What We Sow (v. 8 “corruption...everlasting life”; cf. Prov. 4:18; 22:8; Hos. 8:7; 2 Sam. 11; 2 Sam. 12:5-6 with Ex. 22:1; Lev. 26:18,21 [discipline gets worse and worse 1x7x7x7x7]; Luke 6:38; Matt. 19:29; Eph. 3:20; 2 Cor. 9:6; Prov. 19:17; 1 Tim. 6:17-19)
We Reap In Proportion to our Diligence
We Reap In A Different Season Than We Sow (v. 9 “in due season”; Eccl. 11:1; Gal. 6:9; Prov. 11:18; Eccl. 8:11)
We Reap The Full Harvest Of The Good Only If We Persevere: The Evil Comes To Harvest On Its Own (vs. 6,9,10; cf. Gal. 6:9; Heb. 12:1-3; Rom. 5:3-4; Ps. 37:7; Heb. 10:32-36)
We Reap From the Sowing of Others (vv. 6,10).
We Cannot Do Anything About Last Year’s Harvest, But We Can About This Year’s (“do not grow weary...lose heart”; cf. Phil. 3:13-14)
God blesses us with the wealth of the wicked. Parents lay up an inheritance for their children often. The body blesses each other. And God gives to us much that does not come from our own sowing. It comes from other people sowing into our own lives.
Those are the eight principles. But because I want to put this passage into its context, we will only have time to get through principle number
- I have read a lot on this passage over the years, and other than Gary North and Martin Luther and maybe a few others, I haven’t seen people taking seriously the economic context of the laws of harvest given in verses 7-9. Yes these laws have broad application – and I have used these laws to deal with addictions, anger, conversation, etc. But we must not neglect the primary application that Paul had in verses 6 and
- In verse 6 Paul is talking about division of labor and wages. There are economic principles there, and as we sow our seed economically as Paul commands, he guarantees a multiplied harvest. Now remember principle #2. We reap the same kind that we sow. As we will be seeing next week, we ought not to be embarrassed of expecting that when we sow money into the kingdom that God will pour back more money that we have planted. But in any case, the issue of economics is in verse 6. In verse 10 Paul is talking about sowing tangible blessings into the lives of believers and unbelievers. Verse 10 says, Therefore [It’s not a new paragraph. It’s a logical conclusion to the paragraph. “Therefore”] as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. It might be thought that being a Good Samaritan for someone by the side of the road is wasted money, or time or effort. But Paul’s point was that if you have kingdom attitudes, it is impossible to sow without reaping back more than you ever gave. In 2 Corinthians Paul devotes two whole chapters to proving that when we give willingly above and beyond the tithe into mercy ministries, God gives back far more than we have given. Let me just read you two sample verses. In 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 he says, But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. He saw their stewardship attitudes and their kingdom vision as they gave, and Paul said in verse 10: Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. So though the eight harvest laws of Galatians six apply to absolutely everything that we do, let’s not forget to apply them even to economics.
I get the impression from some people that if its not invisible, then its not spiritual. But Paul in verse 8 is saying that everything must be spiritual; everything must be sown or planted to the Spirit. Christ says that everything must be Christianized – even our handling of the ungodly money of other people. For example, Luke 16:11 says, …if you have not been faithful in the wealth of the unrighteous who will commit to your trust the true riches? We tend to invert that and think that we can be faithful in spiritual things even though we are not faithful with the wealth of the unrighteous. And Christ says no, “The training ground for Christianity is in the tangible arena of economics as you interact with this unbelieving world.” The point of Mark 10 is that we must learn how to be stewards of the kingdom with land, money, houses. It’s far harder to be a Christian in the economic world than it is in the sheltered place of the church. And that is precisely the world where many Christians fail. They violate every economic rule in the book (I mean this book the Bible) and yet feel great about their Christianity.
But verse 7 indicates that its even broader than economics. Paul says, whatever a man sows… These laws of harvest apply to issues of wheat, corn, soybeans just as much as they apply to marriage; Gary North points out that they apply to political issues just as surely as they apply to church issues. These are universal laws – whatever a man sows. Ridderbos in commenting on the “whatever” says, – “it holds for everybody, and everything he does.” These principles are invariable laws, whether we are sowing to the flesh or to the Spirit. Even forgiveness does not wipe out these laws. David was forgiven for his sin with Bathsheba, but not even one of these laws of harvest was removed. God reduced how much harvest there was. Sometimes there might be twenty fold harvest instead of 100 fold harvest, but the laws are invariable. They are written in stone. They are just as constant as the laws of gravity, and you can bank on these laws being true just as you can bank on gravity to be true today and tomorrow.
Now when you begin to realize how comprehensive these laws are, then verse 8 becomes very convicting – as well as encouraging. Verse 8 shows that there are constantly two realms in which we must be sowing and if we are not doing everything to the Spirit we lose what we have invested. There is the realm of the flesh and the realm of the Spirit. Verse 8 says, he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. He is not denying that our own strength and fleshly power can produce a harvest. Our flesh can produce all kinds of things. In fact, the Scripture indicates that our flesh can even produce ministry. But it doesn’t last. Some people think that Paul is talking about the difference between unbelievers and believers. I don’t think so. I don’t think he had unbelievers in mind at all, though the same principles of the flesh do apply to them. He is talking to believers here just as he was talking to believers in chapter 5. He told them in chapter 5 that you can Christians can walk in the flesh and you can walk in the Spirit. And he showed what those things looked like. Do Christians ever produce things characterized by the flesh? Unfortunately, yes they do.
Well, in the same way, in 6:8 Paul is talking to believers and telling them that it is possible to give offerings (verse 6) and to engage in mercy ministries (v 10) from the power of the flesh, and when you do that – yes, there may be results. But they are just temporal. They will vanish; they will rot; and when you die you will not be able to take them with you. Paul is not contrasting hell with eternal life. Instead, he is contrasting results that will last for a while and then will rot and perish with results that will last not only for temporal life but also for eternal life. He is trying to help these people to gain an eternal perspective on absolutely everything that they do.
According to Paul and Christ, you are not an economic success unless your earthly riches also lay up treasures in heaven. We need to look at how we are using our house and how we handle finances and ask ourselves, “Am I using it in a way that will last for eternity?” “Am I doing absolutely everything in the realm of the Spirit and by the power of the Spirit or am I doing it simply by the power of my own flesh?” What’s the ground that is empowering my ministry? Is it my flesh or is it the Spirit of God? Everything we do is coming out of one of those two soils.
Now that’s revolutionary. That means that we need to have a radical adjustment to how we do our jobs. That means that we need to have a radical adjustment to how we change diapers. That means that a slave engaging in menial work for his master can be doing it in a way that will count for eternity. And that’s exactly what Colossians 3 says. In effect Paul is destroying the spiritual/physical dichotomy and making everything spiritual for the Christian. Can you see that? Everything we do we must sow to the Spirit. He’s likening the Holy Spirit to a piece of farm land and it is that land or that Spirit which empowers and prospers everything that we do. We don’t want prosperity from the flesh. That doesn’t last. We want to learn to sow to the Spirit. And when we do, the God who cannot be mocked stands behind these laws and guarantees that the harvest will come. And he tells us “Don’t be discouraged. You follow these laws and the results of prosperity will eventually follow.”
So that’s the context. It’s a context that covers division of labor, wages, mercy ministries and whatever else that we sow. Now with that firmly in our minds, let’s look at the first law of harvest, and then we will have to look to other Scriptures to expand on it. If you are taking notes, there are ten subpoints to this first law.
I. We Reap Only When There Has Been Sowing
(v. 7,8 “whatever a man sows, that he will also reap… he who sows...will...reap”; cf. 2 Cor. 9:6; Prov. 19:17; 1 Tim. 6:17-19)
The first law is the most obvious and the most basic law - that we reap only when there has been sowing. Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. Farmers don’t get a crop if they don’t plant a crop. Now that may seem so obvious that it is insulting to even mention it. And yet I think we need to be insulted because we ignore this law all the time. In fact John Lawrence was so aghast at the laziness of Christians in their pursuit of holiness that he said, “If the farmer knew no more about the principles of farming than the average Christian does about producing a spiritual harvest, he would never make it through the winter.” And what he applies to so-called spiritual harvest, I apply to economics, because we’ve already seen that even our economics needs to be spiritual.
Examples in our common experience of how we mess up
We can pray that people will be saved, and we must pray that people will be saved, but if we are not interacting with unbelievers, it is doubtful they will be saved. Christ commanded us to go out into the hyways and byways and compel them to come in. He didn’t tell us to wait for them to come in. Have you been planting seed by inviting people to church? For our church to be effective, every member must be sowing seed into the lives of the believer. God gives the increase, but He expects us to sow seed.
Get a building
Here’s another example (and these aren’t the ten subpoints – they are just illustrations of the general principle. We’ll get to the ten subpoints in a moment). But let’s say that we desperately needed a building. I can’t sit in my study and expect the Lord to talk to a property owner and tell him that a church he has never heard of needs a building, and for God to give him my name and address, to ask him to send me a certified check when he has never even met me. God is free to do that if He pleases. And our eighth law of harvest actually talks about some of those miracles. But ordinarily, if we aren’t sending out letters of search, if I’m not making contacts, if I’m not putting my feet on territory and claiming it for the Lord, I probably won’t see results. God didn’t promise Joshua anything he wasn’t willing to fight for. He told Joshua to claim the land by faith by planting his feet on the enemy territory and said, every place that the soul of your foot will tread upon, I have given to you. Now if he wasn’t willing to sow seed by treading on the land, he couldn’t expect the land. So many times Christians are lazy and want everything to come to them.
Pray for a miracle instead of working on addiction
Let me give you another example. When we are dealing with a sin, God does not ordinarily just take away the desire for sinning instantaneously or give a miracle. Prayer for miracles are often a cop out for those who refuse to follow His method of plowing, planting, watering, hoeing and cultivating. It’s hard work to conquer sin. A miracle would be too easy. Usually he makes us work for victory. But so many Christians find it too uncomfortable to go through the steps required for victory and they pray instead – “Lord, zap me.” And God in effect says back to them – “What kind of a farmer are you? I promised to give the increase, but I never promised to plant, water, hoe and cultivate for you. If you aren’t willing to work, then don’t expect victory.” Now law number eight says that we sometimes reap from the sowing of others. But if there hasn’t been the hard work of sowing, don’t expect a harvest. This is a universal principle. We must not forget it or we will not prosper in anything that we do.
Have not because you ask not
Now before I go on to the ten elements of sowing seed, let me point out that hard work can sometimes be a substitute for sowing in the Spirit. It is not just passivity that is condemned by this first principle. We can work our tails off and yet not be sowing to the Spirit. James says, You have not because you ask not. A failure to pray is to automatically involve us in sowing to the flesh. It’s like a farmer thinking that he can plant with any bag of seed that he wants – and he fills his drill with rag weed and hopes for corn. He will get a nice harvest, but not of anything that will bring in a cash crop. And it doesn’t matter that he has been working his tail off. It still won’t count. And when we try to do our work without seeking God’s blessing, we are failing to sow to the Spirit. We are trusting this property to produce instead of trusting the second property to produce the ministry. We are trusting the power of our own flesh rather than trusting in the power of the Spirit. That just flows from prayerlessness. That’s why Paul says we need to pray without ceasing. Those prayers may not always be verbalized, but there must be a constant sense of trust in God, awareness of His presence and following of His leading. Prayerlessness is equivalent to pride and self-sufficiency. And Galatians 5 says that is a work of the flesh.
J.C. Ryle said:
Bibles read without prayer; sermons heard without prayer; marriages contracted without prayer; journeys undertaken without prayer; residences chosen without prayer; friendships formed without prayer; the daily act of private prayer itself hurried over, or gone through without heart: these are the kind of downward steps by which many a Christian descends to a condition of spiritual palsy, or reaches the point where God allows him to have a tremendous fall. . . You may be very sure men fall in private long before they fall in public. They are backsliders on their knees long before they backslide openly in the eyes of the world.
Now I think we have given plenty of background. Let’s look quickly at ten characteristics of sowing seed.
Issues involved in sowing
Don’t eat all your crop – scrimp and save
If you think of what is involved in a farmer in Iowa or Nebraska sowing his field corn, soybeans or other grains, it ought to transfer straight over by way of application.
The first essential to sowing seed effectively (and let me tell you something. In the old days when they didn’t have farmer’s welfare this was an absolute rule that could mean the difference between survival and starvation. Here’s the principle-) you don’t eat all your crop. You scrimp and save in order to have something to plant for next year. You know, our in Ethiopia Americans would bring seed grain for the Ethiopians to plant. They feasted and feasted and had nothing to plant and came begging again for a handout. Don’t eat your seed corn. And by analogy, if we are to prosper economically (which is what this series is in part about, right?) we have got to begin being disciplined in savings. Otherwise we will never have anything to invest. Pay God first and then pay your future savings second. Then eat. Do this religiously. Do it as a spiritual act of service to the Lord. We must save some of our money for investment. And you might think, “That is easier said than done.” I agree. And this is a rebuke to me just as much as it is to you. I’m growing in some of these principles right along with you. I didn’t grow up with these principles and because this was not an absolute in my life, it has been years of having nothing in savings.
The first objection is that we can’t afford to save. But think of the analogy of farmers in Biblical times. During bad years the farmers would sometimes have to go without three meals a day in order to have something to invest the following year. That’s what Scripture means when it says, Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. The tears spoke of the sacrifice they had in order to invest in another crop. The next verse says, He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. If you ate everything that you grew, you just weren’t a farmer the next year. You became a servant of somebody else. Now some people are always going to have a slave mentality. But if you want to be a spiritual farmer who enters into covenantal prosperity, you must save religiously. I doubt most of us who say that we can’t afford to save are going without food. We can probably still occasionally make it to Burger King. So if we are to press this sowing principle sharply, it means that unless we are willing to not be prospered by the Lord in investments; unless we are willing to be servants all our lives, we need to be willing to pay our savings each month before we eat. Don’t eat all your crop. Scrimp and save. The order is tithe, pay your savings, then eat. Now are you sinning if you don’t do it? No. Sometimes its impossible because of poverty. But we will also have to answer “No” to the question, “Will you prosper if you don’t do this religiously.” People who don’t have this as a habit spend all their money no matter how much money they make. I have seen people get fabulous settlements that could have set them up for life. They’ve spent it all and are in dire straights.
Watch your timing – Don’t follow the crowd.
The second characteristic of good sowing is “watch the timing of your investments.” Ecclesiastes 3:2 says, A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted. I came to realize how important this was during the years I went up to Smithland to preach. The farmers were very sensitive to timing. Planting when the ground is too wet or waiting too long can cost a farmer big. And in the same way, bad timing alone has destroyed many investments. Now this issue of timing applies to witnessing, teaching various subjects to our children, and many other issues, but I want to focus on the economic sphere. To grossly exaggerate this – and I think we need to be grossly exaggerated to show how off the timing of many Christians is on investments, let’s think of it this way: The farmer doesn’t look at his neighbors bringing in huge cash crops of grain and think in October, “Man this is the time to invest. I’m going to plant all my seed right now. Look at what they are bringing in.” And then during harvest season he proceeds to plant his seed. Well, he would lose everything. No farmer would do that. And yet out of greed or simply from ignorance, that is what many Chrsitians have done. They have seen the incredible killing that their friends are making on a stock and they get in just as the stock has peaked and they ride it down with anxiety and frustration wondering what’s going wrong. In fact just yesterday I talked with a pastor about these principles and he told me he had made this mistake. He got into a stock which had done fabulously and bought it at $40 a share only to watch it go down to $13 a share. That means a $10,000 investment got reduced to $3250. Now that can happen to anybody even if they follow all these principles. The Bible says that no one knows what catastrophe might strike, and that’s why it calls us to diversify. But this pastor admitted that he got in simply because of the excitement of seeing other people making money on paper. His timing was off. Now other people won’t touch a stock with a ten foot pole because they have seen it falling to way below what it’s actual worth is. If you have done your research well on the stock, that may be the time to go in. But timing on any kind of investment, whether it is starting a new company or making new capital investments is critical. God can miraculously overcome our timing problems, but if in the realm of economics we aren’t wise, God won’t prosper simply because we aren’t submitting to His invariable laws of harvest. Scripture says there’s a time to sow and a time to pluck up what was sowed.
Plan your investments but don’t overplan
A third characteristic of good sowing that is mentioned over and over again in the Scripture is the issue of planning. The farmer was called to plan his sowing, but not to overplan. For example Isaiah 28 says, Does the plowman keep plowing all day to sow? Does he keep turning his soil and breaking the clods? When he has leveled its surface, does he not sow… Now God makes an application to a different issue in that chapter, but there is a tendancy for us to go to one of two extremes on planning. Either we don’t plan and prepare and dive into investments on a whim, or we are so nervous about the investment that we plan and plan and never take action until it is too late for it to be a profitable return. Yes Scripture calls us to plan for our investments over and over again, but it also calls us to avoid overplanning.
Know your fields
Perhaps this is not totally a separate point, but point 4 is know your fields. Isaiah 28 speaks of the Lord’s wisdom being given to the farmer to know the difference between kinds of soil. And it says, Does he not… plant the wheat in rows, the barley in its appointed place, and the spelt in its place? For He [God] instructs him in right judgment, his God teaches him. A farmer had to evaluate which grain needed moisture and might do well in his low spots and which one needed dryness, or sandy conditions, etc.. You look at Christ’s methods of evangelism and you will see that He used different strategies for different people. He knew the people that he was talking to. Scripture calls upon us to know the character of each of our children and to train them accordingly. We can’t treat all our children alike. They aern’t alike. In the same way, if God is to prosper us in our financial investments, we have got to know the things we are investing in. God requires us to be wise. We shouldn’t go on a hunch, on a hot tip, or on Aunt Matilda’s recommendation of what made her a killing. It might have made her a killing, but it might be too late for us. If this pastor had bothered to study the company he invested in even minimally, he could have avoided his disaster. We must study what we are investing in. That is true whether it is a stock or a business that we are buying. Don’t expect miracles in sowing your fields and blindly plant and pray that God would prosper. That’s not Biblical, and it is certainly not a strategy for long term prosperity. Luke 14 says that we must use wisdom in knowing the situation we are placing efforts into, whether for building a building or fighting a war. The same is true of investments. Just to take a simple example like a child’s Kool Aid stand in the summer. Just because Kool Aid sold fast 50 years ago when your Dad was a kid does not mean it will today. Maybe people are more fearful of germs today, or maybe your neighborhood doesn’t have a sense of community, or maybe nobody walks the sidewalk because they all drive, or maybe they have pop and other drinks so readily available on every corner that your market is saturated. Maybe the state licensing regulations will get you arrested for having untested Kool Aid. Not to discourage you from starting your own business, but we need to know our field before we risk seed to put into it. Now sometimes its good to let our children learn from mistakes. But I think it is preferable to help them think through potential mistakes before they occur. So know your field.
Only plant when the fields are ready
Both Isaiah 28 and Christ’s parable of the seed illustrate another principle of sowing. We must only sow when the fields are ready. It may be an ideal company to invest in, and next year might be a great investment, but if you were to invest this year, because of the slowness of the market, your money might sit idle for a year. Now can we misjudge? Absolutely. It’s a judgment call, and just as the farmer seeks wisdom from God for his farming in Isaiah 28, so too we should seek wisdom from God for any other type of venture we want God to prosper. When we invest money we need to say, “Lord, I have sought to follow these stewardship principles to the best of my ability. Please give wisdom and protect me from mistakes. I’m willing to have this money diminished. But I want to add to your kingdom. Give me wisdom to know when the fields are ready.” Farmers sometimes lose their crops, as will we. There are no sure things. But this should be our stewardship desire – to know when the field is ready. I won’t belabor that one.
Don’t put all your hope in one crop
The sixth principle of farming that is mentioned in Isaiah 28 is that we must not put all of our hope in one crop. Farmers typically diversified, and if one crop bombs out from pests or climate, they could still have hope in another crop carrying them through. Ecclesiastes 11:2 says much the same thing. Here’s how it is worded by Moffatt: Take shares in several ventures; you never know what will go wrong in this world. The New English Bible renders it, Divide your merchandise among seven ventures, eight maybe, since you do not know what disasters may occur on earth. A modern expression is that we shouldn’t put all of our eggs in one basket. You’ve probably heard that. The meaning is clear: If the basket drops, you lose all your eggs. This too is a common mistake for Christians. They will put everything into mutual funds or everything into gold or more commonly in some ages, everything into the bank. Some of the things you are diversifying into may be more risky than others, but this is one way to spread the risk out. If one crop fails, it can still be compensated for by the others.
The seventh principle is, “plant something.” Psalm 1 describes the prosperity of the righteous, but gives some conditions that must first be sown. I like to think of the various conditions that God puts on prosperity as fertilizer, and we may look at some of the fertilizer to put on our investments at a later time. But though Psalm 1 promises prosperity, verse 3 doesn’t say he can sit back and do nothing and God will still bring him a harvest. It doesn’t say, “Whatever he fails to do will prosper.” It says, And whatever he does shall prosper. Farmers don’t reap if they don’t work and plant. God is not going to prosper the things that we fail to set our hands to. We won’t have a successful business if we don’t take the risk and the hard work of starting one. We won’t find a job if we don’t look. We won’t pay down our mortgage in half the years if we don’t start making extra payments. We won’t evangelize anybody if we don’t evangelize. We must not be passive. Yes these conditions promise a harvest, but only if there has been seed that is sown.
Maybe you are praying for God to prosper your retirement. The question Scripture would ask to you is, “Have you started setting a retirement aside?” And you might respond, “I’ve calculated up the remaining years that I have, and there is no way that I will be able to get enough money to retire.” That’s not the question. It’s in God’s hands what kind of return you get on your money, and how many years of health you will have to work. God can prosper you with a 100-fold return. The question is, are you sowing seed into the retirement fund? We can’t be passive. There is only a harvest when there has been sowing. So start planting something for God to prosper.
Monitor your investment
The eighth principle is that we must monitor the investment. We can’t plant and go our way. If a heavy rain came, a field might have to be drained. If a drought came, the field might have to be irrigated. And God calls us to watch and monitor.
Don’t plant or eat the firstfruits
The ninth principle is that we must not plant or eat the firstfruits. That’s different than eating your savings. You’ve got to first pay God, and then pay your savings. The tithe belongs to God and God will not prosper our work for eternity if we are robbing Him of what belongs to Him. We might prosper in the flesh, but we have already seen what happens to anything sown to the flesh – it sees corruption. Proverbs 23:5 says, For riches certainly make themselves wings; They fly away like an eagle toward heaven You won’t be able to take it with you.
Trust God. Don’t let fear of risk keep you from making wise risks.
The last principle that Scripture teaches us about farmers is that they have to trust God when they put that seed in the ground or cast it on the waters. We might be thinking, if I don’t make a good harvest this year, this may be the last food I will ever see. I’m planting it when my mind tells me to eat it because I trust God. Don’t let fear of risk keep you from obeying God. Though we may be able to minimize risk, Scripture assures us that we will never be able to avoid risk. The person who avoids all risk in evangelism and never ventures out to talk about Christianity or to invite someone to church will never see gain. The person who avoids all risk in planting a church will have a status quo but will not find the church truly prospered. Just apply these principles to all of life and begin praying that God would prosper the work of your hands, and He will usher you into a bountiful increase. May Paul’s prayer be answered in your life when he said, Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. Amen.
J.C. Ryle, Practical Religion, 40-41. ↩