The Law of the Harvest
By Rod Nichols (Rod@RodNichols.com)
After the great flood, Noah built an altar to the Lord and the Lord said in His heart: “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest …will never cease.” (Genesis 8:22 NIV) This is the law of the harvest that every farmer understands – sow the seeds and reap a harvest.
In 2 Corinthians 9:6-11, the Apostle Paul talks about the law of the harvest, but in a different light:
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: ‘He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.’ Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”
Paul is teaching an important message about money – it is a form of seed and similar to the farmer, if we sow sparingly, we will reap sparingly. However, if we sow generously, we will reap generously. The great part is that God does not force us to give, but rather encourages us through our spiritual heart. He does not want us to give begrudgingly, rather cheerfully. Why? God loves His children and wants us to be prosperous (Jeremiah 29:11). He created the law of the harvest and knows that if we sow, we will reap a harvest. If we sow generously, we will reap a generous harvest.
During my previous life (before Christ) and even for the first six years of my life with Christ, I did not understand this principle. The only messages I had ever heard about sowing and reaping referred to salvation. Then one day a Pastor delivered a solid, Bible-backed message on money as seed. God revealed the mystery of the law of the harvest during my times of meditation after that message.
He revealed to me that money is neither good, nor bad, it is just a tool. Contrary to the popular belief (even in the church) money is not the root of all evil (which of course is not scriptural – it’s the love of money that is the root of all evil). God showed me that He provides money (seed) and expects us to sow it. As with the farmer, if we sow it properly, we will reap a good harvest. God also shared that whenever we sow money, whether into worldly things or the Kingdom of God, we will reap a harvest.
For many years I sowed the seed that God had given me into worldly things – houses, cars, clothes, trips, and many other material things – instead of sowing into the Kingdom. Galatians 6:7-8 reads: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” I was that man who sowed to please his sinful nature and it resulted in destruction – $120,000 in consumer debt.
Fortunately, the Holy Spirit taught me (through the Word) how to sow to please the Spirit, which resulted in my salvation (eternal life) and the complete elimination of the mountain of debt (see my article “Mountain of Debt” for the details). However, it took some time for me to learn how to operate within the law of the harvest.
As with farming, before you can plant seeds, you must plow the soil. 1 Corinthians 9:10 says: “Surely he says this for us, doesn't he? Yes, this was written for us, because when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest.” You are the plowman (or woman) and Jesus is the thresher. If you plow in hope, your hope will turn into faith. It is your faith that God uses to cause the seeds to germinate and grow into a bountiful crop. Jesus will then thresh and share the harvest with you. The key is to prepare your spiritual soil for planting by plowing in hope.
Let’s go back to 2 Corinthians 9:6-11 to understand the next actions that will lead to the harvest. Verse 10 tells us that God supplies two types of seed – seed to sow and seed to eat (bread). I find it interesting that a slang term for money is bread. The key is to understand when to sow and when to eat.
The easy one is the tithe (first 10% of your gross income). The Bible tells us that the tithe is God’s portion of the 100% He has given us. It is Holy and not to be used by us, but rather should be taken to the storehouse, which is the church. (If you want more detail about the tithe read my article “Should New Testament Christians Tithe?”) So, the first 10% of your income is seed that you sow into your church. God even promises a harvest in Malachi 3:10: “‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the LORD Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.’” I don’t know about you, but I’m just crazy enough to believe God’s word and have been willing to test Him. His promise is being fulfilled in my life.
Verse 7 gives us the secret to determining the rest of the seed that God gives us for sowing. “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give…” When we are born-again (receive Jesus as our Savior and Lord), our spirit man comes alive. Like our flesh man (body), he too has a heart. It is through this spiritual heart that the Lord will tell you what to sow. If you are obedient in your giving (above the tithe), then God will respond. “If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving--large or small--it will be used to measure what is given back to you.” (Luke 6:38 NLT)
For many years I had a hard time understanding this concept until the Lord led me to a story (author unknown):
There is the story of a king who once invited his subjects to come to his palace for a feast. But the invitation was of a different sort. The moat around the palace had dried up. Since there was no water, and no promise of rain, the king asked each one of those he had invited to bring a vessel filled with water for the moat. The guests brought animal troughs and buckets full of water. Others brought cups full. Still others brought snuff boxes filled with water.
When they had finished eating and drinking, dancing and singing, the king said, "Now your majesty has a surprise for you." He threw open the door to his personal storehouse, and there was the king’s treasury, stocked up, overflowing: money, jewels, precious perfume, and every form of treasure.
"Help yourself to my riches," the king said, "But you can only take home the amount of treasure that you can carry in the vessel in which you brought water."
This story gave a whole new meaning to Luke 6:38 and helped me to understand the importance of listening to God’s still small voice speaking through my spiritual heart. In 2001, God spoke and asked us to give $1,500 to a man who had just launched into full-time ministry. This was a time when we were in a serious debt reduction plan and just about every penny went toward paying off debt. However, we had learned to be obedient and gave the gift cheerfully. In 2004 we received a $70,000 harvest.
That harvest took almost four years. However, another time we had sold some stock and set aside $3,000 for a vacation to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. I had done all the research and was ready to book the trip online, when I heard that still small voice telling me to take $700 of that money and use it to buy a new stove/oven for our church. I battled with Him a bit, but in the end was obedient. Two days later I went online to find a cheaper trip, but found that the cost of the original trip had been reduced by $700. Imagine that. That was a two-day harvest.
The great part of God’s seed system is that there is an endless supply of seed. 2 Corinthians 9:10 says: “Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.” Here we can see that God not only supplies seed, but will also increase the store of seed. As we plant properly, God gives us more seed to plant. We plant that seed and He gives us more. It’s a never ending cycle of seed and harvest.
Once you are tithing, hearing God’s voice in your spiritual heart and giving cheerfully, then you are ready for the next step which is to water your seed. You water the seed with the water of the Word by meditating over the scriptures, particularly those that refer to money. Here are a few: Deuteronomy 8:18, Deuteronomy 29:9, Deuteronomy 30:9, Joshua 1:8, Psalm 1:1-3, Psalms 35:27, Proverbs 10:22, Proverbs 11:25, Proverbs 13:21, Proverbs 28:25, Ecclesiastes 5:19, Jeremiah 29:11. You will find many more if you do word studies on prosper, prosperity, wealth, riches, etc.
As you meditate over the scriptures, begin to speak the promises out loud. God created the universe and our world through the spoken word. Proverbs 18:21 tells us that there is life and death in the tongue. You will speak life or death to your finances by what comes out of your mouth. If you are saying things like “we never have enough money” or “we can’t afford it” or “we’ll never get out of debt” or “we’ll never be able to afford a house,” then you are speaking death to your finances. However, if you are speaking the promises of God, then you are speaking life. Forget about your circumstances. There is power in the Word of God, so speak it.
When we had the mountain of debt, we began to literally speak to the mountain of bills. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.” (Mark 11:23 NIV) We began to tell the mountain of debt that it must go into the sea and today that mountain is completely gone. It was not by our power that this was done, but by the power of the spoken Word of God.
Past the plowing, sowing, and watering, you must weed. Jesus tells us that the thief (Satan) came to steal, kill and destroy. (John 10:10) He will try to kill your seed by convincing you to think negative thoughts; those that are contrary to God’s promises. He will try to deceive you into moving your eyes from God’s promises to your financial circumstances. Paul tells us how to combat this in 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV), “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
We are to take every thought captive and compare it to the Word, if it doesn’t line up then don’t accept it – cast it away. Satan is a liar and he will have seemingly solid arguments (based on your circumstances), but remember to compare them to the promises of God and those arguments will be demolished. Satan puts up a good front, but its all smoke and mirrors. Its all pretension (make believe claims) that has been set up against the knowledge of God. Speak the promises of God and the illusion will disappear.
Each day, ask the Lord to search your heart for any weeds. When He reveals them, repent and focus once again on His promises. Pray Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Weed your spiritual soil daily, so that your seeds can grow healthy and result in a big harvest.
The last part of the harvest process is that when you sow, expect a big harvest. When the farmer sows a seed of corn, he doesn’t expect to reap a kernel of corn; rather he expects a stalk with a number of ears with hundreds of kernels. He expects to have a big harvest. Multiplication is part of the law of the harvest. Sometimes this won’t make sense, but remember that God’s ways are higher than our ways. He uses a multiplication system that will never make sense to our pea brains. In the parable of the sower (Matthew 13), Jesus tells us that when the seed is sown it will produce a crop – “a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown.” Isaac planted and reaped a hundred fold return (Genesis 26:12). Jesus said that anyone who gave up the things of the world to follow Him would reap a hundredfold return in this life and the next (Mark 10:29-30).
Expect a big return, but don’t make it the reason you give or you will destroy the seed. Also, keep in mind that when you plant financial seeds, God’s harvest is not always financial. Sometimes He will give you a harvest in your relationships or health or in your spiritual growth. Make sure you recognize the small blessings, as well as the large and give God the glory.
Ok, let’s recap. You must first plow the spiritual soil in hope. Then God gives you seed to sow and seed to eat. Tithe out of obedience to God’s Word and give out of love to plant your seed. Next, water it with the Word by meditating over the scriptures. Then, weed your fields by asking God to search your heart and repent for the weeds. Reject any new weed seeds by taking every thought captive and comparing it to the promises of God. Finally, expect a big harvest.
Remember the words of the Apostle Paul, “Whoever sows sparingly will reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will reap generously.” God is giving you the seed; are you sowing generously or are you eating the seed that would result in an abundant harvest? Begin to sow generously and you will be amazed at the incredible harvest.
Rod Nichols is an Associate Pastor at Truth and Grace Foursquare Church in Tacoma, WA. He is also a published author and accomplished public speaker and teacher. Rod’s latest articles and books can be found at www.RodNichols.com. Rod is married with five children. He and his wife Karen live in beautiful Washington State. Rod is available as a freelance writer. If you'd like to hire him, e-mail Rod@RodNichols.com.
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I love this! I wish we all thought like farmers when it came to money and seed. God is not trying to get us to give of our finances (and other seed) because he needs our money - he is not poor - he owns everything! When it is time to pay our tithes or sow an offering, he is simply trying to get some money 'to' us.... but first the money has to get the money 'through' us. God is a gentleman and obeys his own spiritual law (the Law of Sowing and Reaping, Gal 6:7). He wouldn't not expect us to do anything he hasn't already done. Do you remember when he sowed his son Jesus? He did it to bring forth a harvest (John 12:24).