Joyce Meyer - Sowing, Reaping and Generosity - Part 2
- How to know Jesus
Well, thank you for joining me today on, "Enjoying Everyday Life". And I pray, right from the beginning, that the word will bless you and minister to you today and that whatever you need to hear, God will bring that out of my mouth. I started, yesterday, teaching on sowing and reaping, a principle that is throughout the Word of God. In Genesis, God said, "As long as the earth remains, there will be seedtime and harvest". And so, if you don't like the harvest that you're getting in your life, you need to check your seed. I said, yesterday, that if a farmer was consistently not getting a good harvest, he would check his seed to make sure it was good, and he would check the ground that he's sowing it into.
But there's other things that we can also look at. It's very important the attitude that we sow with. And when I'm talking about sowing, I'm talking about giving financially, I'm talking about your thoughts, your words, your attitudes. Do you serve other people? Are you involved in growing the Kingdom of God? When you do things for your family at home, what kind of attitude do you do it with? Do you do it with the attitude, you know, "Everybody takes advantage of me, and I do all the work around here while everybody else enjoys their life"? I used to do that. Or do you do it as unto Lord? The Bible says that whatever we do, we should do it "As unto the Lord: knowing that it's from him, that we will receive our reward".
And in 2 Corinthians 9:7 the Bible says, "Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver". The Amplified Bible says, "(he is unwilling to do without) a cheerful giver". And do you sow with a right motive? You know, God is a God of hearts, and he really cares more about why we do what we do, even than what we do. I can give somebody a birthday present, but if I'm giving it to them so they'll think well of me, or if I'm giving it to them so I can feel good about myself, or if I give it to them in hopes that they'll give me something back on my birthday, then my motive is all wrong. And these are all things that we will lose our reward over if we don't: first of all, you need to sow, and secondly, with a right attitude and with a right motive.
1 Corinthians 3:13-15 says our work on the day of Christ, the second coming of Christ, Judgment Day, and we will not be judged as a Christian. We will not be judged regarding our salvation, because if you're a true believer in Jesus Christ, then your name is written in the lamb's book of life. But the Bible makes it clear that when Jesus comes, he'll bring his rewards with him. And so, we do get or lose rewards based on the kind of seed that we sow. So, it says, our "Work will be shown for what it is, because the day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person's work. If what he has built survives, the builder will receive a reward. But if it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet he himself will be saved, even though only as one escaping through the flames".
You know, I don't want to spend my life doing what I believe are good deeds and then end up losing my reward because I did them all with a wrong motive, a wrong attitude. And, you know, it's just wise sometimes to sit down and have a little meeting with yourself and ask yourself, "What kind of seed am I sowing? What kind of attitude am I sowing it with"? I don't know, let's just say maybe you volunteer to work in the nursery every week at church, but if you resent doing it, or if you do it just so the parents will thank you and think you're a wonderful person, then those are all wrong reasons. We need to do it cheerfully, with a good attitude, and unto the Lord. Without a harvest, we become weary. Everybody needs harvest.
"Let us not become weary in doing good". I love that. Don't get tired of doing what's right. Don't get tired of being good to other people. Don't get tired of giving. For at the proper time or in due season, "We shall reap if we do not faint". So as long as we keep it up, keep it up, keep it up, keep it up, there's no way that the enemy, the devil, can keep us from having a harvest. But the Bible does say there'll be "Seedtime and harvest". And if we break that up a little bit, we'll plant our seed and some time's gonna go by and we don't control that time, the amount of time. It may be, you may get a reward right away, but it may be a long time, and God has his reasons for that. When God first called me into ministry, I had three children and I couldn't go off to Bible school. I didn't really know the Bible that well.
And so, you really shouldn't be trying to teach other people if you don't know anything. And I really needed time to spend with God and time to study the word. Time to really learn and study the word. And God had given me the gift of teaching, but I still had to make sure that what I was teaching was right and proper. And so, I started feeling like God wanted me to quit my job. And I had a pretty good job. I made as much money as Dave did, and I didn't have a company car, but the company did provide our gas. They had a gas pump right there so I could fill my car up any time I wanted to. And I really felt strongly like God wanted me to quit that job, trust him for the finances we would need, and to spend that time studying. So, he was asking me to give something up and trust him. Well, I didn't know how to trust God fully yet, so I quit that job, but I got a part-time job.
Can I tell you that part-time obedience will not bring a harvest in your life? We cannot bargain with God. It will be God's way or no way at all. So, I ended up getting fired from that part-time job. And I'm not the kind of person that gets fired from a job. I'm a hard worker, a good worker. But I'll tell you, I could not do anything right at that job. It became obvious that it just was God not blessing me. So, finally, I quit the job. But our bills exceeded dave's income by $40 a month. And so, every single month we needed some kind of a miracle just to pay the bills. And that was without any of the extras that we need in life.
And so, I thought surely because I made this big sacrifice that right away God would bless us. But you know what? There were six long years of literally believing God for my socks and underwear before I saw a breakthrough. And sometimes God's waiting for a greater commitment from us. We don't try things that God tells us to do to see if they'll work, and then if they don't work quick enough, say, "Well, I'm not gonna do that anymore". We need to be committed to doing what God says and doing it whether we get a reward, or we don't. Now, God is faithful and if we continue to do the right thing, the reward will come. But we don't get to pick how long it's gonna take.
And so, one day my pastor came by, and he'd been out speaking that weekend, and he was giving me this great report of, you know, how they'd blessed him and, you know, back then, all we had was cassette tapes, and all the tapes he'd sold, and the offering they gave him, and a couple of people who said they wanted to partner with him in partnership. And, you know, I was really trying to act happy for him, but I was just, my heart was breaking inside. And when he left, I started to cry. And I had a decision to make because part of me just wanted to say, "I'm just gonna give up". You know, "I'm just, I'mma quit doing all this and just go back to work".
But I remember laying across my daughter's bed and crying and crying, and I made a declaration, I said, "God, we are going to continue to tithe and sow seed from now until the time you return whether we ever receive any kind of a harvest or not. If this is the way we have to live the rest of our life, I'm going to obey you". And, you know, from that day on, we began to prosper a little bit, a little bit more, a little bit more, a little bit more, and a little bit more. Let me repeat what I said. Sometimes God is looking for a deeper commitment from us. Are you a giver until things get tight and then you stop giving? Are you one of these kind of people that you're always going to give when circumstances get better? No, we need to, we need to obey God all the time. And, you know, I remember saying, one time, if you have nothing to give, then give your desire to give.
We can always find something to give, and we can always be a blessing to other people. You don't always need money to be a blessing to people: maybe they need a compliment, maybe they need a smile, maybe they need some kind of practical help with something, maybe you can babysit for a single mother who never gets to go out and have any time to herself. There are so many creative ways to give, and the more generous you are, the happier you're going to be. "Let us not become weary in well doing: for in due season you shall reap, if you faint not". "Without faith it's impossible to please God, anybody who comes to him must believe that he exists," that he is, "And that he rewards those who earnestly seek him".
Now, earnestly means that you don't just do it for a little while. It means you're very sincere and you're gonna keep it up, and keep it up, and keep it up, and keep it up, and keep it up, and keep it up, and keep it up. Just keep doing what's right. Be committed to doing what's right no matter what. Don't give just to get a harvest. God promises us one, but he doesn't make us any promises about the timing. God's timing in our life is perfect, but we don't always know when that will be. Deuteronomy 8:18, God said to the Israelites, "But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirm his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today".
Now, God was telling them that he had promised to take care of them and when he did that, that was a confirmation of his covenant with them. He said, "You obey me, I'll bless you". He told the same thing to Abraham, "I will bless you and I will make you a blessing". Actually, God blesses us so we can be a blessing. God doesn't bless us just so we can be a collection station of stuff. He blesses us so we can be abundantly supplied to bless other people. Now, words are another way that we sow seeds. The Bible says, "The power of life and death is in the tongue". So, every word that we speak, either ministers life to other people and we minister to ourselves. The words that you speak, you have to eat.
So, it's very important that we, number one, speak the Word of God and that what we say is positive. Isaiah 55:10 and 11, "As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and don't return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater", now, listen to this, "So is my word that goes forth out of my mouth". Does your mouth belong to God? If it doesn't, it should. "It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish that what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it".
You know, it's very important for me, especially at this stage in my life, that I have plenty of energy. And sometimes, I need supernatural energy. And so, it's so easy to say, "Oh, I don't feel good. I'm tired, I'm tired, I don't feel good, I'm tired". And I purposely, every morning, when I get up, I say, "I have all the energy that I need today and every day. God is my strength. He gives me all the strength that I need to do, everything that I need to do, and I feel good all the time". I have sown my seed by saying what I want, not necessarily saying what I have. We're really bad about declaring our circumstances, but we should be declaring the Word of God. Your words are seeds.
You know, we all have angels. You know that. We each have a guardian angel, but we have other angels that protect us and do things for us. And Psalm 103:20 says "Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word". So, I believe that if I want my angels to help me, I need to be speaking something that they can act on. I don't need to be saying a lot of negative things. I need to be saying positive things. And, you know, our harvest glorifies God. The world doesn't need to see a broken-down, pitiful, pathetic, sad, colorless, drab, unhappy church. We need to portray something that they would want: joy, peace, doing the right thing, having your needs met, and having an abundance over that so you can help meet the needs of other people who need help.
You know, God is particularly fond of the poor, the widows, and orphans, talks about it all over the Bible. And we need to make sure that the orphans in our church, the widows in our church are taken care of, if there's any orphans that they're taken care of. We need to make sure that we help people who genuinely need and deserve help. Now, I'm not talking about just taking care of lazy people. I'm not talking about enabling people who really don't wanna work. I know that the attitude, a lot of times is, "Well, you know, why should I go out and work and then give you what I have, when you won't even work"? Well, Paul said, "If you won't work, then neither should you eat".
So, people should work if they can. But there might be somebody who can't. Maybe they have a physical situation and they can't work. Or maybe they have made a mistake at some time in their life and gotten themselves in debt. But now, they've turned around and they're trying to get their life straightened out. Well, that would be a good person to help. In Genesis 12:2 and 3, God said to Abraham, "I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you". I love that. And I just wanna speak over your life, right now, God wants to bless you. He intends to bless you. Receive that. God says, "I intend to bless you". "I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you: and I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing". Don't just want to be blessed, but want to be a blessing. You know, hope, the word hope means to aggressively expect something good to happen to you.
So, something I say frequently, and I teach people to say is "Something good is going to happen to me today". But, you know, that's not enough. Don't just stop there and say, "And something good is going to happen through me today". Don't just wanna be blessed, yourself, but want to be a blessing. Be a person who's generous and a person who loves to give. Don't just sit around and think all the time, "What about me? What about me? When is somebody gonna do something for me". Be very thankful for everything that God does for you. And do as much as you possibly can for other people. God blessed Abraham with a large family. He was so blessed that God told him, "Everybody that blesses you, I'll bless them and if they curse you then they're gonna live under a curse".
We don't want the world to have a wrong view of Christians. We want them to see us with lives that make them jealous. "I wanna be happy like you are. I wanna have the peace that you have. I wanna have the assurance that God is gonna meet my needs, like you do". God is good and he is generous. He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above and beyond. He doesn't, he's not just a do barely a little bit, but he does exceedingly, abundantly above and beyond. Ephesians 3:20, "Now to him who, by (in consequence of) the [actions of his] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out his purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] to ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, dreams or hopes]".
Wow, that's good. Be a sower of seed. We need a harvest so we can be good to other people. 2 Corinthians 9:9 and 10, "As it is written: 'they have freely scattered their gifts to the poor: their righteousness endures forever'". I tell people, don't eat your seed. God gives us seed to sow and bread to eat. He gives us things for ourself, but he gives us seed to sow. You know, sometimes, somebody will give me something and I know, right away, it's not for me. It's just not my style or it's not what I like, or I know it's something that I would never use. And so, right away, I know that it's seed to sow. There's somebody that will love it.
Somebody that will be blessed by it. Give as much as you possibly can to as many people as you possibly can. Because giving a gift to someone is one way of saying, "I love you. I care about you". 2 Corinthians 9:11 says, "You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God". You know, the Bible says that we should do things in secret. And I think that's so good, because there may be sometimes when you can't do that or there may even be occasions where it would bless somebody to know that you blessed them. But if you have a real need and that need is met, the first thing you're gonna do is thank God, "Thank you, father, for meeting this need". And so, Paul is saying here that when you're generous, it results in bringing forth thanksgiving to God.
Now, you know, Isaiah 58 is a wonderful chapter in the Bible. It really deserves a lot of study. And he's talking to people that were fasting. And yet, while they were fasting, they were being mean to people and not living the way they should be living. And he said, "Here's the fast that God requires, that you share your food with the hungry, that you provide the poor wanderer with shelter, when you see the naked, that you clothe them, and that you turn not away from your own flesh and blood". You know, family, especially, should take care of family. We may not always want to do it, but we need to take care of family. Now, listen to these promises.
"Then", after you've done what he already said, after you've helped the poor and the needy, clothed the naked, fed the hungry, "Then your light will break forth like the Dawn, and your healing will quickly appear: then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard". So many promises here. "Then you'll call, and the Lord will answer: you'll cry for help, and he'll say, 'here I am'. If you do away with the yokes of oppression, and the pointing of finger in scorn". He's saying, "Don't judge and criticize other people. Be generous. Be a giver. And when you do the right thing, the right thing is going to happen to you".
God loves us and he wants us to be blessed. He wants us not to be in fear of never having enough. But he wants us to be abundantly supplied for. And he wants us to not be under the oppression of debt. And you might think, "Well, I'm deeply in debt and I don't know if I can ever get out of it". Well, don't even think like that or say that. Say "I believe that I'll be able to get out of debt. I believe, someday, I'll be able to own my own home. I believe, someday, I'm gonna be able to give into every good work". Proverbs 12:24 and 25, "Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in forced labor. Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up".
Proverbs 11:17, I love this, "The merciful, kind, and generous man benefits himself". You know, when you give abundantly, you bless yourself more even than you bless other people. It says in acts, "It's more blessed to give than to receive". And you might say, "Why"? Well, when you receive, you just get the gift. But when you give, you get the joy of giving. And boy, joy is wonderful. "He benefits himself [for his deeds return to bless him]". We reap what we sow. "But he who is cruel and callous [to the wants of others] brings on himself retribution".
Don't be stingy. Be very generous. You know, every thought that we think is a seed that we sow. Make sure that you're sowing good seed: be friendly, be complimentary, be kind, be generous, do random acts of kindness. Don't be like the world. You don't belong to the world. You belong to God. And he loves you very much. Thank you for being with me today and I pray that you will join us again tomorrow. God bless you.