I told you about a goofy farmer a couple of weeks ago, who planted corn hoping to get peas. I thought we had him straightened out but I wandered past his field just a while ago and do you know what that guy was planting?
"Hey, buddy, mind if I ask why you‘re putting those dollar coins in the ground?"
"Wha ... oh, howdy," he acknowledged me while patting the dirt around his latest "˜seed.‘ Well, I‘m gonna water these real well and if I get plenty of sun, I "˜spect I‘ll have me a bunch of dollar trees."
"Ah!" I nodded wondering if his mama had rocked him too close to the wall when he was a baby. "You think that by planting money, you‘ll grow money and you want to be rich?"
"That‘s says it as well as it can be said," he allowed.
"I‘ve got bad news for you my friend." His face clouded with my announcement because it was me who let him down last time. "You‘re not going to get much of a harvest like that. You ..." Then I stopped short because a stupendous idea crashed inside my noggin‘ and binged around a few times like a rock ricocheting in a trash can.
"Come with me," I ordered. "I‘ll show you how to make that money grow."
Being an agreeable sort, he picked up a sack that must have had 300 dollar coins and we walked the short distance into town.
"But how are you gonna help me make my money grow?" he questioned.
"Okay, you see that lady there?" I pointed to a frail woman who must have immigrated from points south, followed by five little stairsteps. "She doesn‘t have the money to pay the rent. Her husband left her. She‘s going to get kicked out of her house and the kids haven‘t had anything to eat today and not much yesterday."
He looked reluctantly at his sack, then at the hungry kids. I think he had learned a little bit with the corn and peas last time and he stuck in his hand and pulled out a fistful of coins. "Wait m‘aam," he called. "He ran into a nearby grocery store and came back with two bulging sacks which he proceeded to give her.
She thanked him heartily and the kids were almost jumping up and down with the idea of eating. My friend looked doubtfully into his money sack. There didn‘t seem to be quite as much as before.
"Your piles decreasin‘ some," I observed.
"Yeah, but ..." he looked after the lady and her kids receding into the distance. "I can‘t think of anything that I could have bought myself that would have given me as much happiness as seeing the joy on those kids' face."
We did stuff like that all afternoon. Everywhere he saw a need he planted his money seeds and he even pitched in to help some people who needed his time instead of his money.
At the end of the day, the sack was empty. "Hmmm, sorry about that," I apologized. "I don‘t seem to have made you rich."
A look of satisfaction covered his homely face. "You know what, feller," he asked. "I believe you did make me rich. Did you hear those folks praisin‘ God when I helped them? And those tears of joy when I fixed that door for that little ole lady? And all them others? Dunno, but I feel awful rich right now."
Here‘s a few things from 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 that God thinks about giving""whether it‘s money, time, talent or whatever as long as our heart is wrapped up in it. (This is not talking about the tithe or regular giving to your church. This was a special offering for the needy of Jerusalem. I think the principles are similar, whatever the occasion).
- If you‘re stingy with God, He‘ll be stingy with you.
- God loves it when you love to give.
- God‘s will for you is that you‘ll have enough for you needs and enough to give. (Be careful with this last point. If you eat your seed you‘ll have nothing to plant and you‘ll starve to death. Part of what God gives you is seed and it‘s to be planted, not eaten).
"Remember: 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 9:6-8 The Message)
But rich? The Lord Jesus himself said this, "Don't hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or 'worse!' (stolen by burglars). Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it's safe from moth and rust and burglars. It's obvious, isn't it?
The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being." ( Mat. 6:19-21 , The Message)
Remember, don‘t eat your seed. Look around for somewhere to plant it. And your bank account in heaven will be bulging. You ought to see the interest rate that the Lord pays.
Hmmm ... "There is a great difference between a man who is passionate and a man who is a zealot. A passionate man is enthusiastic and fervent. A zealot goes to extremes and ruins the objective of the Christian faith simply because he can't find balance in his life." John Bueno