By Frank Santora, Crosswalk.com
As nations around the world are facing tough economic times, people are wondering how their governments are going to address the shortages of food and fuel that are approaching critical levels in many areas. But in reality, it’s not the national GDP that most people are truly concerned about – it’s our own personal pocketbooks that are most important.
As Christians, we should remember that, regardless of events in the world, there is never any lack with our heavenly Father. The Word of God teaches that there is a separate spiritual economy based on faith and obedience, that never experiences recession. Many believers ignore this or reject it, and suffer unnecessarily!
Photo credit: Pexels/Pixabay
How Does God’s Economy Work?
Although a country’s national economy is complex and affected by numerous outside influences (that can often be unpredictable and baffling), God’s economy is much simpler and much easier to predict, and is clearly laid out in Scripture as the principle of “seedtime and harvest.”
Unlike a nation’s economy that is affected by all sorts of inputs (how much money does the government print, the rate of inflation, supply and demand, unemployment rate, imports and exports, etc.), God’s economy operates on one overriding spiritual principle – the principle of sowing and reaping.
In the natural, a farmer scatters seed into the soil, and over time, the seed grows and sprouts up bearing fruit. At the right time, the man swings the sickle and reaps the harvest.
Sowing and reaping is also how the supernatural kingdom of God and His economy works.
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 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. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: ‘They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their 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 enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God” (2 Corinthians 9:6-11).
God’s word makes it clear that the cycle of seedtime and harvest, whether natural or spiritual, is the way His kingdom works. Understanding and following this principle teaches us the wisdom to always remain faithful in giving our tithes and offerings – especially when the financial foundations of the world around us are being shaken.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Daniela Jovanovska-Hristovska
There’s No Harvest without First Planting Seed
Have you ever prayed in faith for God to turn around your finances, and then nothing happened? That may have surprised you, but it really shouldn’t have. Based on the principle of seedtime and harvest, we know you cannot have a harvest without first planting seed.
“Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over” (John 12:24, MSG).
Imagine how productive it would be for a farmer to walk out onto his field and start praying over it to bring forth a harvest – without ever having tilled the soil and planting seed in the field? Even if he prayed fervently and fasted for days, nothing would happen! In order to grow the crop, he must plant the seed into the ground.
I am not suggesting that God couldn’t supernaturally provide in a sudden emergency. Clearly, God in His mercy can come to our rescue. What I am saying is that prayer, by itself, doesn’t create a lasting financial turnaround or economic stability in a believer’s life.
We can pray, dance, sing, shout, talk “spiritual,” act “spiritual,” live right or practice any other spiritual discipline, but unless the seed is buried in the soil, there will be no harvest.
“There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty. The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself” (Proverbs 11:24-25).
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/jchizhe
Planting in Good Soil Guarantees a Harvest
Jesus often pointed this out during His teaching, reflecting the goodness and generosity in God’s economy.
“And He said, ‘The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. … It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth; but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs…” (Mark 4: 26-27, 31-32)
“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38)
We see this principle in the Old Testament as well:
“’Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,’ Says the Lord of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,’ says the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 3:10-11).
God’s economy is better than anything this world’s economy offers:
- Planting a seed in the stock market will not guarantee you a future return.
- Planting a seed by investing in a business will not guarantee you a future return.
- Planting a seed by purchasing a home will not guarantee you a future return, but
- Planting a seed into God’s kingdom is guaranteed to give you a future return!
God’s economy is safer, easier to understand, more predictable, and it comes with a guarantee, not from a financial advisor, but from Jehovah Jireh Himself!
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/AlexRaths
Financial Seed Is the Most Powerful Type of Seed
As a rule of thumb, the kind of seed planted determines the kind of harvest received. Therefore, that same farmer who prayed over his land for a harvest without planting any seed, would be equally crazy if he planted apple seeds, but expected to harvest corn.
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7).
Said another way, the nature of one’s harvest is dependent on the nature of the seed sown. You can’t get watermelons from cantaloupe seeds, or strawberries from blueberry seeds, peace from discord seeds, or kindness from nasty seeds. And you can’t get a promotion from incompetence seed, or a financial harvest from serving seed.
The Peculiar Power of Financial Seed
In God’s economy also, the kind of seed we sow determines the kind of harvest we reap, with one exception… financial seed. A financial seed does produce a financial harvest, but it can also produce the kind of harvest we need.
In 1 Kings 17, there’s a powerful story of how a financial seed produced a physical, financial, as well as family-saving harvest for a destitute family. It’s the story of the prophet Elijah and a widow woman from Zarephath.
In the account, drought and famine had long covered the land and God instructed Elijah that it was time to go elsewhere:
“Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you’” (1 Kings 17:8-9).
I imagine Elijah was thinking a prosperous, elderly widow woman with a huge house and servants. But when Elijah arrived, the widow woman was gathering sticks for a fire, and was clearly not rich.
“So she said, ‘As the Lord your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die’” (1 Kings 17:12).
This woman was in real need. She needed a physical harvest (they were about to die from starvation); a financial harvest (they had no money to buy food); and she was in need of a family-saving harvest (her child was suffering). And she needed it immediately.
God could have provided for Elijah back where he was, but the woman needed an opportunity to plant a seed. God sent Elijah to help her put into motion the principle of sowing and reaping, so that He could give her the miracle harvest she needed.
“…He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Corinthians 9:6).
God was not trying to take something from her; He was trying to get something to her during a dire economic time. Her seed was the sacrifice of her last flour and oil given to the prophet Elijah. Her harvest became everything she needed as long as the financial crisis remained.
“So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah” (1 Kings 17:15-16).
That’s the whole point of God’s economy. It supernaturally removes us from the bondage and control of the satanic world economy. That means, sowing seed is actually for our benefit, not for God’s. And given the peculiar power of financial seed, the woman didn’t just have financial harvest – it gave her a miraculous physical harvest, financial harvest and family-saving harvest.
Remember, God is no respecter of persons! He acts on our behalf like He acted on behalf of those written about in Scripture. When we are faithful and obedient to give our tithes to our local church, and when we sow seed into other Kingdom causes and ministries, God promises to return a harvest to us – pressed down, shaken together and overflowing.
So no matter what the stock market looks like, or the housing market, the rate of inflation, or any other worldly economic indicator, boldly plant seed in the soil of God’s economy and you will prosper according to His word!
Photo credit: ©SparrowStock