I have a “seed report” and I hope that as you read it your faith will grow as ours has.
Last year our aging building suffered severe electrical, plumbing and structural problems. The cost of repairs was so great that we had to take out a loan. At that time I was listening to a testimony about how God gives seed to the sowers. It was based on the Scripture 2 Corinthians 9:10: “Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.” The man giving the testimony was visiting a megachurch that had a need and the minister asked for anyone who wanted to be a “seed sower” to stand. Then he charged those standing that if God put $1,000 in their hands that week they would pledge to immediately sow the $1,000 seed into the church’s need. The man reported that they sowed $50,000 in four days!
My faith soared at this testimony and I thought, “We are not a megachurch but we have a need. And we have people who can pledge to sow money.” So I took this idea to the Sunday Night Bible Study and told them about it. They all decided that we would be seed sowers for Skyland and any money that God put into our hands we would sow into a fund to relieve our debt. We stepped out in great faith and were all praying that any seed would come our way and come quickly. Eleanor said she was believing for a $250,000 seed. We all laughed nervously, not knowing whether we would sink or walk on water with this venture.
GOD DID NOT DISAPPOINT US!
Right away one member went home and opened a letter that contained an unexpected $20 from an escrow account. I went into Office Max to buy something for the church and at the checkout asked them if they gave a discount to churches. She said she could give me $5. I took it as my first seed. As we all shared these two quick seeds, our faith soared and others began to receive unexpected money from many directions. We shared with other groups in the church and they all signed up to “play” and pass along any money that unexpectedly came their way.
With the seeds came many stories of how God provided:
- One member received a rebate check for her tire purchase.
- Another bought a coat at a consignment shop and found $80 tucked into the pocket.
- Another received a refund check from Kroger saying her insurance had paid more than they expected for a prescription.
- Another was getting coffee with a friend and as she pulled her money out to pay, her friend said, “I have this.” She tucked the money back into her purse and turned it in as seed.
- Another was at work and the visiting AFLAC rep told her that because she had not made a claim in a number of years, they were rewarding her with a check of several hundreds of dollars.
- Another looked down at Kroger and found two dollar bills on the ground.
- Another had money blow into his yard.
- A college student opened her Chick-Fil-A nuggets and got one nugget too many. She proclaimed this a “seed nugget” and figured it to be worth 40 cents (I told her not to put the nugget into the offering plate :).
- Another was leaving a parking garage and gave the attendant the ticket and a $5 bill. The attendant returned the money because she had parked less than the minimum time limit.
- Another got an unexpected dividend from an investment. It was several hundred dollars.
- Another got a flu shot at Publix and they handed her a $10 gift card. She turned in $10 cash as a seed.
- Another received notice that the stock they thought they sold many years ago had not been completely sold. They sold the stock they had left for a seed of $835. This was our biggest seed.
There were so many seed stories – these are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head. Our rule of thumb was this: you know you have a seed if you get some money and say, “Wow, this is unexpected” and you hear the word “SEED” in your mind.
We were going along sowing our seed, giving reports of how much seed we had sown, and then THE HARVEST CAME!
Two members of our church died close together and named the church in their wills. There was money and a house. Just like the chicken nugget, we proceeded to turn that house into money we could use. Many people went to work reaping the harvest because settling estates and selling a house don’t happen without work, just as a harvest has to be reaped – and we thank all those reapers.
Last week I heard another testimony from a minister who encouraged churches to “run their numbers” to see the actual figures of their sowing. So I decided to run our numbers. Here is what I found: we had 29 seed sowers who sowed $5,900 that yielded a harvest of $593,114 from the inheritance.
THIS IS OVER A HUNDRED-FOLD RETURN!
We have been good stewards of this money as well. We have tithed (sown more seeds) to missions, paid off the entire loan, paid our legal and administrative fees on the reaping of the wills, and have put some money away for the next crisis that an aging building is prone to have. This way we will not have to go into debt for a repair. This closes that field.
BUT it’s not the end of the story for the seed sowers. We have totally enjoyed moving along the money that God places in our hands to support His kingdom. So we are plowing a new field to receive seeds for a new project: the church nursery renovation.
We are bursting at the seams in our nursery. Our nursery workers have come up with a plan to update and expand the nursery for an estimated cost of $5,000. We are not anxious or nervous this time. We are confident as we have seen God’s hundredfold harvest. In fact, we had barely announced this new seed project when a new member opened her water bill and saw a $78.04 rebate! She quickly sowed this seed and went on to look for her next seed. She told me, “This is so much fun!”
I want to stop here and let you know what we have learned from our short time of experience:
Tiny seeds are easy to sow. $0.25, $5 and $10 amounts are easy to pass through your hands and into the offering plate. God helps our faith grow with tiny seeds, and then He sends bigger seeds when you are able to eagerly pass the amount through to the seed fund. When you are holding a $400, $500 or an $835 seed it is easy to listen to your own voice telling you that perhaps it is not a seed but rather money you should keep. There is a chance of convincing yourself that it is NOT a seed if you think about it too long. God knows that if you are used to sowing smaller seeds, the larger amounts are easier to recognize and move along.
Don’t eat your seed. Missionaries talk about seeds they are sent for farming that do not make it into the ground because the people in need take the seeds and eat them. If you receive a seed and you do not sow it, you have just eaten that seed and it will never produce the harvest that God intended. So sow it quickly!
Seed does not come from your earned money. It will come to you “unexpectedly.” This is the fun part. That being said, if anyone anywhere hears of this need for our nursery renovation and would like to make a donation of their earned money as an “offering” (not your tithe), we will certainly add it and use it as part of the harvest. Mark your check “Nursery Renovation.”
So now I give you the opportunity to be a seed sower in this new nursery renovation “field.” There is only one qualification to be a sower: when God puts money in your hand that is totally out of the blue (unexpected) and the word “seed” crosses your mind, you quickly turn that money into the seed fund. Mark your envelope or check “SEED” and place it in the offering plate or through the mail slot of the finance room.
We know God supplies all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. He is the source of our supply. We give Him the glory as we stand here to sow into the nursery renovation. We stand on His Word that He gives seed to His Sowers so we release the seed money to come to the sowers and we thank God for the great harvest and the beautiful nursery that is to come.
Here’s to another hundredfold harvest!
-By Cathy Wages, Sower