A few years ago, I got heavily into debt. It started out small and before I knew it, it was a lifestyle. Have a Need? I’d pray, then search my mind for someone that “God” might possibly direct me to ask. I enjoyed good relationships with a number of people and I borrowed from almost all of them. Before I knew it, I was in trouble. One day in church, the pastor pointed at the section where I was sitting and said ” there’s someone on that side, you’re heavily in debt, on the verge of disgrace. God is going to come through for you” I burst into tears of both shame and relief…I knew it was me.
As I made my way home, I could practically see my testimony in church the next week. How I was sitting at home, and I got a sudden mysterious credit alert. Or how all my debtors suddenly all called to forgive my debt. Or how someone just called out of the blue to give me the exact amount I needed. I was relieved and excited.
None of that happened…I spent the next 2 years paying off that debt and yet, God did come through for me. He used that process, the eye opening process of calculating exactly how much I owed, the calls one by one to let my creditors know when they could expect their money, the relief when 2 forgave my debt, the resentment and then unhappiness when one creditor cut me off…it took that entire process to teach me the lessons about finance that now define my life.
Why do we run away from the process? Why do we try to avoid the very lessons that God prepares to teach us the lessons we need? We want it now, the ready made solution, the overnight miracle…and though there are quite a few of us that will wake up one day with an unexpected solution to a problem, guys, for many of us, that will not happen because the very thing we’re running away from is the very thing you need to grow to become what you need.
Every guy since you’ve been 18 has dumped you…you’re 31 and single. You’re resentful and angry. What is your process? You’ve tried 5 million businesses, they all fail, people have stopped picking your calls because they don’t want to hear about another hare brained scheme. You’re confused. What is your process?
Guys I learned. In that period I learned. I realised I had no business eating out and being one of those onigbeses constantly being called out on twitter. I learned that before I took out my expenses money I had to pay off that month’s bill or it would become impossible. I lost a relationship with a mentor who was trying to teach me how to diversify income but whose purpose in my eyes, was as a pocket. I learned responsibility. I learned prudence. I learned all I needed to learn.
I learned that sometimes, what you need is not “a seed”. One of the things I owed was a pledge I had made in church. I couldn’t afford it, I had no income. But I made it and waited for God to supply the money I would use to pay the seed. He didn’t. Sometimes guys, throwing money at the altar won’t cut it.
I realised that, while faith will often defy logic, it is not irresponsible. I learned that God will honour faith, but not foolishness. There are times when you get a clear word from God – this money you’ve set aside, it’s for Me. And you know it is. But how many of us go up to the altar, not a dime in our pocket, in the full assurance that money we don’t have and have no chance of getting will somehow be given to us to pay a seed we did not receive a word to sow. If God asks you to pay a monetary seed, brethren be assured He will give you the money, but if He has not spoken to you…well…
How many of you have borrowed to sow a seed? How many of us understand what a seed is?
It’s not money. It’s something you invest that yields a return. And while sometimes your seed is cash, many many times, your seed has nothing to do with money.
You’re believing God for a car. They announce car dedication, you go up the aisle, drop a “seed” in the basket. Go outside and lay your hands on the car and ask God to acknowledge your seed. Then your cab guy calls to tell you he has arrived and you hop in and drive off, past the church members waiting fruitlessly for a cab.
You’re trusting God for a promotion, and so you sow a “seed”. But 5pm on the dot your bag is packed and you’re ready to go.
Sometimes your seed is not a seed.
You know what I realised this morning, I have always, no matter where I have worked, had at least one, many times more than one person that has taken the responsibility of teaching and mentoring me. Always. Might it be tied to the fact that everywhere I go, I make it a duty to teach the people who work with me? So that as I am sowing into people’s lives I am also reaping from others?
Evaluate your seed.
You’re out of school and need a job, you walk to church and put in some money, believing for that miracle job that will elevate you to family rockstar. Past the office where you can volunteer to work to build work experience and where God has placed someone who will one day offer you a higher position that will lead to another position that will lead you to rockstar status.
My sister teased me once, she said that my answer to everything was “How much is it?” And so it was. I had gotten so used to throwing money at stuff that I had stopped working on things. Let me paint us a picture. You have one junior friend who you know isn’t in great circumstances. One day, junior comes to you and says “Senior, I need school fees for this year. Please, let me wash your clothes for a week and then you’ll help me” So you agree. Next, Junior needs books and so cleans your house for a week. By Junior’s 4th or 5th visit, you’re thinking as you watch Junior come up your driveway “What does he want this time?”
We kinda treat God like those old pumps where you had to pour a little water in first before water would come out. Don’t we? Because giving money for something we need frees us from working on it, frees us from learning, from stretching, from the painful processes associated with growth.
Guys, our lives should be a constant process of sowing – everything we have and we are should be a seed. A daily taking up of the cross and following, a daily death to self in order to awake to Him. When we are asked to be a living sacrifice, we become a daily seed – living our lives for the sole process of giving to Him. And as we do, He takes our seeds and provides us a harvest, sometimes totally without our knowledge.
Remember that piece in the Bible where Jesus is telling some guy “You fed me when hungry, clothed me when naked, visited me in prison” And dude is like “Huh, Lord, when was that? Cos I don’t remember”. When your life becomes a seed, giving to Christ through the people that you serve becomes a way of life so much a part of you that it stops being about what you need, and starts becoming about what you can give.
So when you wake up one day and some random person out of the blue has called you for a job you didn’t apply for, you have no clue that it was the harvest from the woman who came to apply for cleaner in your office, who was looking for a 25,000 a month job, but who you recommended for 35,000 Office Assistant because you took the time to evaluate her and realised that she had the skills and temperament for the job.
Or the harvest for working night after night, after everyone else had gone, doing your bit and then extra, treating the company like your own.
Or the harvest for that lady who lost her husband and whose children you offered to pay school fees for, despite your lack, because you knew she didn’t have a job.
Or the harvest for that friend of yours who you happened to refer to that other friend of yours who was looking for someone for his office.
And when you give the testimony in church, you have no seed to tie it to, because your life, day by day, is a seed, a gift to the one who sowed His life for you.
And then Person B ties into the testimony with a hefty sum of money, and when God shows that job paying below minimum wage to start off with, Person B has no clue that God is showing them the farm into which they must sow. And so they turn the job down.
Let me issue a disclaimer again – I have nothing against giving money in church. Sometimes that indeed is what is asked. My point is this, we need to go beyond the giving of money to the real sowing, the surrendering of ourselves to be vessels here on earth. We need to understand that even when we give money, many times the seed is not the money itself, but the sacrifice. The yielding. We need to open our minds to the understanding that a seed is not something you give God for Himself, but something you give Him to work with so that He can give back to you, and always, beyond a doubt, the best seed that you can give God, is you. We need to stop trying to escape the process of growth, the painful, stretching process of investing into something that pays off into a harvest that lasts a lifetime.
Some years ago, I had a bad breakup, I dedicated one year of my life to being single. I would not have called it a seed, except in that year, God opened my eyes to all the mistakes I had been making in my relationships. I ended that year a different person than I started it, the lessons will stay with me all my life.
I struggled with a lack of victory in many areas. And God led me to invest 10 minutes in the morning and 10 at night to praying in tongues. Just 10. And it started a process of metamorphosis that still amazes me till today with how much is changing within me.
I learned that God will not give me shortcuts simply because I want to avoid the complications of the mess I left on the road. I learned that the process itself is a seed in itself, reaping a harvest far beyond my imaginations. I learnt that the best seed I can sow is the giving of my life to Him, yielding to His learning, pouring myself out as He did – it’s a sharing of my time, my money, my work, my sweat…it’s a complete surrender. I am learning to die daily like Paul – to give mine for His, trusting that He is able to take my mortal seed and give me an immortal harvest.
I’m not there yet, but it’s a process, and I’m growing
And sometimes guys, the harvest takes forever to show, and you wait, and wonder, and worry. You don’t know what else to do. Sometimes dear friend, the waiting itself is the process. But as sure as there is a God in Heaven, your harvest will come.