This is an excerpt from a book that I started to write. I got about half through the manuscript and it just sort of fell by the wayside. Someday, I'd like to finish it. Until then, I might post a few more excerpts to see what you think. The tentative title of the book was "Mercy."
God’s Word compares giving to the needy with planting a crop. When a farmer sows seed, it might look like he is just throwing it away as he scatters it upon the ground. But the farmer knows better. He’s not dumping it – he’s sowing it.
He expects a harvest. There might be some uncertainty about the size of the harvest. There will probably be some anxious moments during the growing season as he prays for rain during a dry spell. But his expectation is greater than his uncertainty and anxiety.
The farmer also knows that the amount of harvest is going to be many times greater than what he planted. When I asked a farmer what he expects to get when he plants a single bushel of corn, he told me that would be enough to sow almost three acres. And with proper care, each acre would yield about 200 bushels of corn. The return on his investment would be about 600 to one!
I realize that different crops yield varying amounts, and that farming techniques were not as advanced in the time of Christ, but the principle remains the same: the farmer sows a little, and gains a lot. The rate of return is incredibly high.
Not only does the farmer have a pretty good idea of when he will reap his harvest, but he also knows that he needs to plant again and again if he wants to reap more than one harvest. Frequently, farmers wish they had even more land to farm so that their harvest could be even greater.
Showing mercy is like sowing seed. You might be a little uncertain or anxious about your crop, and that is understandable. But not knowing the future is a great reason to sow more.
Ecclesiastes 11:6 “In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good.” NKJV
Like the farmer, we will also reap more than we sow. A farmer doesn’t plant one ear of corn hoping to harvest just one ear of corn. He hopes to harvest much, much more. God rewards mercy in a similarly grand fashion.
We also know when we will receive our ultimate reward. The real payday takes places when we enter His presence. Jesus said that He was going to heaven to prepare a place for us there (see John 14:1-6). That is a greater reward than we can comprehend.
But we don’t have to wait until we get to heaven to be rewarded. God frequently chooses to bless us on this side of eternity. There are even promises that as we meet the needs of others, He will meet our needs. And that includes our needs here on earth.
Remember the first few verses of Ecclesiastes 11? Solomon encouraged us to “cast our bread upon the waters.” If we do that, then we’ll find our bread again “after many days.” In verse two, he tells us to give liberally, because there may come a day when we ourselves are in great need.
We have a promise that we will receive a reward for our generosity. But when? After many days, and when something evil has happened in our lives. I know that God is laying up a heavenly treasure for me, but I also have His promise that He’ll take good care of me until I get there to enjoy it.
So, let’s not be content with a planting one small “mercy garden” in our backyard. Let’s spread the seeds of mercy everywhere we go. Actively look for fresh ground to till. Find new places to sow more and more seeds of mercy. Anticipate frequent harvests of God’s blessing.
2 Corinthians 9:6-8 “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” NKJV