Joyce Meyer - Sowing, Reaping and Generosity - Part 1
- How to know Jesus
Well, thank you for joining me today on, "Enjoying Everyday Life". And you know, life goes by so quick. We really do need to make sure that we enjoy every day. Don't waste today being angry at someone or jealous or even frustrated. Just be at peace, know that God loves you, and make a decision that you're gonna have a great attitude about today whatever you need to do. You may have some kind of a project coming up that you dread. Don't even do that. Just have a good attitude and know that God's with you and do it unto him.
Today, I want to talk to you about seedtime and harvest. And I want to just say that a little bit differently, let's say: seed, time, and then harvest. Because very often when you plant your seed, whether it's a financial seed, or an attitude seed, or a thought seed, or a word seed, there is some time that goes by before you get a harvest. A farmer, when he plants his seed, he doesn't get a crop right away. He has to be patient. The Bible actually says that "He keeps up his patient vigil over it" until he gets the harvest. So, he waters it, he keeps the weeds pulled, he takes care of it, but all the while he does it in hope and in faith, and belief that he's going to get a harvest. So, when you plant seed, you should always stay in hope, no matter how long it takes. We always reap what we sow.
Galatians 6:7: "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows". I like the Amplified translation better. It says, "A man only reaps what he sows". We can't reap anything else. And when I talk to you this week about, seed, time, and harvest, we will be talking about sowing money, giving into the work of the kingdom, but that's not the only thing we're talking about, because everything that we do really is a seed that we sow. If I'm friendly, I'm more likely to have friends. If I'm merciful, if I sow seeds of being merciful to other people, then when I need mercy, I can expect a harvest of mercy in my life. And we'll talk more as time goes on about what things are seeds. But you know the thing that I really like about seed, time, and harvest?
And I hope that you grasp this, I like it because I feel like it gives me a measure of control over my life. And I'm not saying, you know, that I wanna control God. And we know he's sovereign, he can do anything he wants to, but God has given us free will. And he said, "I set before you life and death: choose life, that you and your descendants may live". And he gave us this principle of whatever you sow that you will also reap. So, I feel like that, that gives me an ability of choices. If I want something, I need to sow some of it in order to get more of it in my life. And that excites me, I like that. Galatians 6:7 and 8, we're gonna read two scriptures together here, I already read 7 but, "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man only reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction". The Amplified says, "Ruin, decay and destruction". "Whoever sows to please the spirit, from the spirit will reap life, and life eternal".
We have to understand that when a person is not born-again, a man, in his natural state, is just stingy. We're not born generous. But the born-again man is generous in his spirit. He just has to learn how to work with the Holy Spirit so that the things that God has put in him, works their way through his soul and eventually can be seen as they come through his flesh. So many people in the world are so desperate today and so needy. But the problem is, is most of them don't even know what they need. And so, they're trying to fill this emptiness in them or this discontentment with all kinds of things that really won't work or even if they did work for a little while, they're not gonna work for a long. People try to fill the emptiness in them with things.
So often, "If I can just get another thing". "If I can get a bigger house". "If I can get a better job". "If I can own my own business". It's always, "If, if, if". But to be honest, if we can't learn to be happy and joyful where we're at, we're not gonna be happy and joyful wherever we get, because our true joy needs to come from our relationship with God. However, once you are born-again, you still do have a flesh. The Bible says that we died of the flesh. It does not say the flesh dies. And when I say flesh, I'm talking about a combination of your body, your mind, your will, and your emotions, which is basically what the soul is. So, in Galatians 5, it says that the flesh wars against the spirit and the spirit wars against the flesh, they are continually antagonistic toward one another.
So, God may speak in your heart, in your spirit, something that he wants you to do, or you may be convicted that you're doing something that you should not be doing. But your flesh then will give you all kinds of reasons why it's okay. The flesh always tries to justify disobedience. It always tries to justify sin. And we cannot justify sin. Jesus is the only one that can justify us, and he does it by his blood. So, literally, when you're born-again, you enter a state of war. And we have to learn how to say, "No" to the flesh and "Yes" to the spirit. There's a scripture we're gonna talk about on and off over the next couple of days that says that we "Sow in tears" but "We reap in joy".
What does that mean? I think it means a lot of times when God asks us to do something, it's not necessarily gonna be something that's gonna be easy to do it. It may be difficult. This morning I had a terrible sinus headache. It's allergy season here, in my city. And I woke up with just an awful headache. And I couldn't seem to get it stopped. And it was, I had drainage in my throat, and it was making me kind of nauseated. And I told my husband, I said, I told him how I felt, and I said, "But you know what? The devil loses because I'm gonna go to the office anyway and still do my TV. I may 'sow in tears, but I will reap in joy'". You know, we don't have to want to do what God wants us to do in order to do it. We can make a decision to obey God, whether we want to or not.
I want to say that again. You can make a decision to obey God whether you want to or not. God doesn't like it when we mistreat people. He wants us to have good attitudes, good, positive attitudes. He wants us to speak words that are full of life. He wants us to think things that are in line with his word. All of those things are seeds that we sow that produce a harvest in our life. And God's word gives us, really, a plan for how to have a great life. You, every single one of you, can have a great life: a life you can enjoy, a life where you leave a legacy of good things that people might be talking about even a hundred years from now. A lot of the books that I read are books that were written by people that have been dead for a hundred years.
And so, you wanna live a life that's gonna leave a good effect on everybody that you're around. And if we live the right way, the lives that we live can draw other people to Christ. For example, generosity. You know, a generous person is just a beautiful person. And we're drawn to beauty: a beautiful landscape, a beautiful mountain, the ocean, a beautiful flower garden. And we'll look at things like that and say, "Isn't that beautiful"? Well, you know what else is beautiful? A generous man or woman. A generous boy or girl. And yes, small children can be taught to be generous. Do you know what's ugly? Stinginess and greed.
The Bible says that "The love of money is the root of all evil". Money is not evil. Money can be used for lots of good things. We need money to preach the gospel. We need money sometimes to be a blessing to other people. We need money to be a blessing to the poor and the needy. But money also can get people in a lot of trouble if they don't realize that they're stewards and not owners. Everything that I have and everything that you have, God has given us. Without him, we would have nothing. You say, "Oh, no, I've worked for everything that I've got". Well, you know what? Without God, you wouldn't even have a job. Everything we have is a gift from God. And he's given it to us to see how we'll use it, and he will, one day, require an accounting of what we've done with everything that belongs to him.
So, here's a statement I want you to remember. Learn how to not possess your possessions. In other words, you may have possessions, but you need to be openhanded and open-hearted, and you need to hold on to them loosely. So, if God requires anything that you think you own, you're ready immediately to give it to him. We're in a war. But you know what? We can win. All we have to do is learn how to listen to God. You say, "Well, I don't think I hear from God". Well, you know what? You do. God doesn't always come and talk to you in a voice like I'm talking to you. Matter of fact, he rarely does that. But he speaks to us through his word.
You know, I didn't have to get up this morning and wonder if God loved me or I ask him to prove to me that he loved me because his word says that he loves me. Now, I'm like anybody else, I like the proof. I like it when God manifests something and I'll say, "Man, that was God". But I was also reminded this morning of the scripture that says, "Blessed are those who believe and have not seen". Thomas was one of the disciples that needed proof. He told Jesus. He said, "I will not believe it's you unless I see the scars on your hands and feet". And so, Jesus had to show him the scars in his hands where he was nailed to the cross. Well, then, Thomas believed, but Jesus said, "Blessed are those who believe and have not seen".
And so, we need to believe what the word says, no matter how we feel or what it looks like. You know, if you don't like your harvest, if you don't like the way your life is going, instead of complaining about it or blaming somebody else, maybe you should look at your seed. I believe, if a farmer was consistently getting a bad harvest or no harvest, that he would, a couple things, I'm sure he would do. He would examine his seed to see if maybe he had rotten seed. And he might also examine the ground to see if the ground was any good. You know, it's not only important that we sow seed, but it's important that we sow seed into fertile ground.
Now, many of you give to your local church, you give to ministries that teach you the word or that you believe in the work that they're doing. And I will just tell you how I feel. I feel like anybody who is receiving offerings needs to be doing outreach and especially reaching out to the poor and needy, the disenfranchised in the world, and people that are hurting. We work with sex trafficking victims all over the world because that is one of the most awful things that's going on today. We feed the hungry. We clothe the naked. We have a lot of medical missions. We've done a lot of prison ministry. I wouldn't give to a place that was just constantly concerned about what's going on in their particular place, but helping people around the world.
And a lot of times, you know, people have church growth seminars and I'm not against that. There are certain principles, certainly, that people can use that will help a church grow. But i, honestly, believe if you're meeting needs, you won't have to worry about church growth, people will just come. Because they wanna come places where they feel like they're loved and where they're really being ministered to. So, if you don't like the harvest in your life, ask yourself some questions. "Am I generous"? A generous person is someone who always does more than enough. Practical example: when you eat out, what kind of tips do you leave for the waiter or the waitress? Do you give the barely required amount or will you at least round it off and go to the next number? Sometimes we need to think about what it's like for other people.
Can you imagine how many crabby people, a waiter or a waitress, has to put up with? Let's make sure that we're not one of them. Be a generous person. When you know somebody that has a need, it's great to pray for God to meet their need, but what if you could meet their need and you just don't want to? One time, I was praying for God to meet somebody's need, and he just put in my heart, "Stop asking me to do things that you could easily do and just don't want to". That'll give you something to think about. No, you can't give away everything you've got. But we waste so much money. Even if we just stopped wasting money and gave what we waste to missions or to the poor, it would be amazing.
How often do you stop somewhere and buy a coffee for $3.50, take two or three drinks out of it and leave it sit and get cold and then end up throwing it away? Or how many times have I bought another $10 pair of earrings that are still laying in my drawer, and I never wore 'em because I really never had anything to wear them with. We do waste money and God teaches us to be frugal. We are to be good managers of everything that he gives us. Another good question is, "Am I friendly"? You know, there's no reason for anybody in the world to be lonely. And if you're lonely, don't just sit around and wait for somebody to come to you, start being friendly with people and pretty soon you'll find that you have friends. "Am I merciful"? When people make mistakes, believe the best and give them mercy.
The Bible says, Jesus said, "If you sow mercy, you'll reap mercy. If you sow judgment, you'll reap judgment". Oh, we are so quick to judge and criticize and have an opinion about things that we know absolutely nothing about. Let's be more generous in our thoughts toward people. Let's be more generous in how we talk about people and even more generous toward their mistakes. Because which one of us does not make mistakes? We all make mistakes. "Am I quick to forgive"? "Am I obedient to the authority over me: obedient to God and even people that are in positions of authority over me"?
You know, for example, we do conferences and sometimes we'll have sections marked off in the building where we don't want people to sit for various reasons: where the TV cameras are gonna be or because we have that section marked off as somewhere we're not gonna be using for filming. And we've had people say, "I'm gonna sit where I want to. I don't care what you think". Well, then don't expect to get anything out of the teaching, because if you come with a rebellious attitude, you're not gonna receive. And the world today is full of rebellion. And the Bible says that it is the spirit of antichrist. Satan was rebellious toward God, and he wants us to be rebellious toward authority. "Do I keep my word to God and to others"?
So many people today don't keep their word. I talked with somebody, a couple of weeks ago, and they asked me if I would do something and I couldn't do exactly what they wanted, but I gave 'em another option. And they said, "Well, I'll check on something and get right back to you". Well, that's been two weeks and I haven't heard a word. Well, so that leaves me kind of in limbo, wondering. And so, if you don't remember anything else that I said today, remember to do what you tell people you're going to do. Because if you gave your word, you sowed a seed. And if you keep your word then you have put yourself in a position to receive a good harvest at harvest time. The Bible says, "Those that come to God must believe that he is, and that he is the rewarder of those who diligently seek him".
I don't know about you, but if God's got a reward, I want to have it. Don't you? Well, then, if I want God to do his part, I also need to do my part. "What kind of words do I speak? Are they positive, negative, thankful or complaining"? You know, a lot of times, in the mornings, I'm not what I would call a morning person. So, a lot of times, in the mornings, it takes me a little while to even really wanna be around people. And so, if I'm not careful, I can start thinking negative thoughts, early in the morning. But, you know, the way to combat that and fix it is I open my mouth and start thanking God, "Thank you, God, that I've got a great house to get up in this morning". If it's cold outside, "Thank you, Lord, that I have heat". If it's hot outside, "Thank you, Lord, that I have air conditioning. Thank you that I can make a cup of coffee and sit down, and I've got a stack of books this high that I can read. Thank you for my family".
I'll tell you, if you want something to help you get over the crankies real quick, just start being thankful. And we all have things to be thankful for. No matter how bad your life is or no matter what kind of a situation you're in right now, you have things to be thankful for. And I think one of the ways that we say, "Thank you," to God with our actions is by giving abundantly into his work. You know, I tell people all the time, you know, just because I'm a preacher on television all over the world, they don't give me a preacher's discount or let me go on free because I'm preaching the gospel. And so, we need to think, and we need to not be just keepers or getters, but we need to be givers.
When you go to your church on Sunday, do you go to get a blessing, or do you go to be a blessing to someone? Maybe you could try praying for your pastor before you get there. You want him to pray for you, well how about praying for him? And I will tell you something, you cannot be stingy and happy at the same time. So, the more generous you are, the more you do for other people, the happier you are going to be. Now, that doesn't mean that you shouldn't also take care of yourself and do things for yourself and save time for yourself. I'm not saying that all you should do is give away all your money and give away all your time for other people. But we certainly need to be a blessing to other people. Luke 6:38 says it well, "Give, and it shall be given unto you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom".
I like the fact that God is an abundant God. He says he'll give back good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. In Malachi it says that when we tithe and bring offerings that God will "Open the windows of heaven and pour out blessings". Thankfully, he doesn't say he'll dribble them out. It says he will pour out blessings so great that we can't contain them. You know, in kingdom economy, we have to give something up before we get something back. So, I've got some garden pea seeds here and some tomato seeds. Well, I can keep my seed, but I'm never gonna have a harvest of peas and tomatoes.
So, if I give up my seed, and, you know, it's interesting, if I opened this packet of tomato seeds, they are so tiny that there's no way that you would probably be able to see them, on the end of my finger, on a TV camera. And yet, if I plant one of those seeds in the right ground and I take care of it and I'm patient, I will end up with this whole stalk of tomatoes. I don't know how many I would have, but I would have a whole bunch. But I gotta give up something to get something. "The first will be last and the last will be first". There's so many good things in the Word of God, and I really encourage you to study the word. And I wanna thank you for spending your time with us today. And please join us again tomorrow when I'm gonna continue some of this good teaching on being generous. God bless you.