Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle,
for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.
~ Ecclesiastes 11:6
From this verse, we can glean three tips about sowing from Solomon that are relevant for leaders and the people we serve. Each of these principles is reinforced by a variety of New Testament passages as well.
(1) Though we live in a world filled with uncertainty, we must sow day and night!
On a trip to Kansas, I noticed tractors with headlights working in the fields well into the night. Later I asked a farmer about what I saw. He said, “When it’s time to sow, we get out there and sow, day or night, because weird things can happen that can keep us from planting. If we don’t get the crop in, we can’t reap a harvest. Simple as that!”
He’s right. Weird stuff happens. We live in a world filled with uncertainty. While everyone wonders (or tries to predict) what will happen next, Solomon offers advice with more accuracy than a weatherman and more precision than an almanac: sow. Sow day and night because you don’t know what work you do will bear fruit.
Sowing, of course, is a metaphor for deeper spiritual realities. In Mark 4, Jesus urges us to sow the Word of God in people’s lives. Though we may never see the fruit of this labor or it may take years to produce, we must not lose heart or focus. Sow the Word of God in the lives of those around you day and night.
(2) Each person is only responsible to sow what he or she has.
Notice the Scripture reads: “sow your seed.” Each person reading this article should not worry about seed you don’t have, but sow the seed you do have. Consider this sowing in light of your financial giving.
In the New Testament Christians are instructed plainly to give to ministry and to the poor. In Galatians 6:6 Paul instructs us to share all good things with ministry leaders. In 2 Corinthians 8-9, Paul exhorts the Corinthians (and each of us) to sow, that is, share financial resources from God with those in need. In Galatians 6:10-11 he adds that we should do this with everyone and especially people within the body of Christ.
Are you sharing what you have? Take out a sheet of paper and inventory what you have. Include both cash and non-cash assets. Commit today to sharing more money regularly to your local church and other ministries as well as the poor. Why do this?
(3) You can’t reap an abundant harvest if you don’t sow!
Seed kept in a barn never produces a harvest. The only way it can fulfill its purpose is to be sown. Regardless of your measure of financial resources, if you are a Christian, you possess yet another kind of seed—gifts—as 1 Peter 4:10 reminds us that our spiritual gifts have been entrusted to us to serve others.
When we sow ourselves in sacrificial service we reflect the love of Christ and bring him glory regardless of our ability to articulate the Gospel or our capacity to make financial gifts. Everyone can sow generously! In an uncertain world Solomon states one thing with certainty: Sow what you have, day and night.
Solomon was wise. He knew what happens when you sow abundantly: you reap abundantly. Today and every day: be a sower! Freely sow the Word of God in the lives of those around you, give generously from what you have, and voluntarily serve others using your gifts in a manner that brings glory to God.
Gary G. Hoag is the Generosity monk and co-author of a book entitled, The Sower: Redefining the Ministry of Raising Kingdom Resources.
Go deeper into the biblical principles of becoming a sower by registering for the Fall CLA Online Academy. This quarter we have the class that’s right for you. Last day to register is September 3, 2013.
We are grateful to this year’s Academy sponsor – ECFA.