Sunday, July 08, 2007

Seeds 2 - Finances

In my last blog post I talked about seeds of plans that God has put in us. How they take time to grow, and often need to endure hardships to get there.

Today I want to tackle another Christian 'seed' analogy. This time it relates to finances...

Recently Clive wrote about this in his blog series on "Prepare to Prosper" by Joyce Meyer
Here is a quote from Joyce's book:
"God has been showing me that many people sow without ever enjoying the harvest He would love to give them because they are not properly caring for the seed sown."
Clearly a seed analogy there.
Here is Clive's Comment:
Joyce believes that a key missing element in why we don't see our financial seed (giving) come to harvest is because we have not watered our seed.
As much as I love Clive, I'm not so sure that I agree with him (and Joyce).
When you plant a seed, you expect a harvest but what kind of harvest do you expect? One of the same type as a the seed you sow of course!

Many people make the mistake that because they are sowing seeds by giving, then they should receive a financial harvest. Money for Money right?

I don't think so, I'm willing to be proven wrong but I think when you sow into the kingdom of God, you are doing just that, sowing into God's purpose.
When we give money to a church or Christian organization, It is like we have exchanged that money for some 'kingdom seed' and planted that in the ground. Our seed grows to produce some more of God's kingdom not some more cash.

I'm not trying to say that God doesn't want to bless us, or prosper us financially. I'm just thinking that if he does that, it is probably because doing anything to further God's kingdom attracts his blessing. Not because some seed has matured and we are reaping a harvest.

If you want breakthrough in your relationships, you need to work on your relationships, if you want breakthrough in your finances, you need to work on your finances, if you want breakthrough in your love for others, try loving others? It is no good working away in one area and expect to see God change us in another. As we know (for some reason) God likes to do things here on earth through us, he even works through us on us!

I happen to believe that giving money away makes good financial sense. It forces us to live within the money that we have because we need to use some of it to give away. I also think it makes sense to save money, earn interest, or invested it. That is planting financial seed, seed that will reap a financial harvest. As James MacPherson said this morning, Nigerians who want to give us millions of dollars or pyramid marketing schemes are not God's financial plan for your life.

Have you ever heard people talking about how to find the perfect spouse? Be the perfect spouse.
I think that kind of analogy works here, If you want to attract the blessing of God, be the kind of person that God wants to bless. Who does he want to bless? Those he knows you will use his blessing to further his kingdom. Anyway that's a message for another day...

I know what I have said is a little different to what we are often taught. Have a got it all wrong? Do I miss the point somewhere?

I'd love to hear from you, just leave a comment or send me an email: james@jambe.cjb.net

4 comments:

Clive Smit said...

Kia Ora James...

Let me start off by saying that I love that you don't agree! Its a beautiful thing to think for yourself!!

Let me comment on some of your thoughts:

You said, "I don't think so, I'm willing to be proven wrong but I think when you sow into the kingdom of God, you are doing just that, sowing into God's purpose.
When we give money to a church or Christian organization, It is like we have exchanged that money for some 'kingdom seed' and planted that in the ground. Our seed grows to produce some more of God's kingdom not some more cash."

Are we always sowing into God's kingdom when we give, when we are generous, when we look after the poor?
What about the lady at the till... or the people behind me in the fuel line at the gas station?


You said, "If you want breakthrough in your relationships, you need to work on your relationships, if you want breakthrough in your finances, you need to work on your finances, if you want breakthrough in your love for others, try loving others? It is no good working away in one area and expect to see God change us in another."

I got confused here cause it sounded like you were arguing for my side... sow an apple seed, reap an apple tree.
You want friendship, sow friendship.
You want respect, sow respect.
Why should this principal work for everything else except for $?

I suppose the concern with my post is that people will start sowing $ in order to reap $... but lets be honest, with the average Christian giving less than 3% of their income... we are no where near that danger!

Do I think that God God is limited in only being able to bless us with $ when we sow $...
I think that God can bless us in any way He wants... and usually its not just in one area...

What do you think?

James said...

Hey Clive, Good comments.

I said I disagreed, but in actuality I don't think we are too far apart. I think my main point of difference is that I'm not convinced that tithing to church is planting financial seed in the same sense that sowing time into relationships is.

As I wrote the post I started to see how by sowing into the kingdom of God you are attracting the blessing of God. So perhaps the effect is the same, God honours your commitment to his kingdom in many ways, one of them financially.

I think there are two places where my theory makes a difference is where some one is in that category you mentioned, someone who gives because they think they will receive. If that is their motivation is it going to attract the blessing of God? Maybe...

I agree that most people who use the 'I don't want to give because I'll be doing for the wrong reasons' line of reasoning are using it as an excuse not to give. The reason people don't give is not moral superiority, it is because they don't believe you.

The other time is when you give and don't see a financial harvest?
I think there is a lot people today or are dissatisfied with church because of what they see as broken promises, they gave and didn't see an increase in income, they were told they would be healed but they haven't seen healing. You could say they haven't waited long enough or didn't have enough faith or something. But sometimes I wonder if we are teaching things quite a right way?

Maybe it is just like seeds that not every seed grows to become a plant, many die in the ground, sometimes hold fields may fail to reap harvest or hail destroys the crop. Maybe it is our understanding of seeds that lets us down? We have looked too simplistically?

It's a journey to understanding, perhaps one that won't be reached till I get to heaven.

I hope some others get in on the conversation. I'd like to hear other peoples opinions on prosperity...

Especially from the bible.
For example in the bible I see Paul working as a tent maker while doing ministry so that he wasn't seen to be doing it for the money, Elijah refusing the gifts from the Ethiopian healed from leprosy. Do we use those as examples for our offering talks?

Loving the conversation, Keep it coming!

Jeremy Sargent said...

Hi James ,youn are on to something here
i believe the reason only 10% of christians tithe is because they are told to because of the wrong reasons.when we give with a motive of i am doing this to get back .
thier are many churches I know of one in newzealand that never speak on the prosperity gospel yet give in excess of 750,000 per year
The only reason they ask people to give is thankfullness and out of gratitude

Sometimes i get the impression that we market the whole giving thing to be like buying shares in the share market

servant said...

Hi all, good conversation. Thanks for pointing it out to me James. I've put up some thoughts on my blog as well ;o)

Frank