Farming technique: If you want a harvest you have to sow some seed – ratio of seed sown to harvest reaped

This is a principle that has been put to use since the beginning of our agricultural life and this principle is used today as a way of illustrating the power of giving liberally.  It is to prevent us from thinking that because the gift is given voluntarily, the offering should be a token gift and kept to the minimum.

However, this proverb does in fact occur elsewhere bearing the same sentiment of giving liberally and often.

The context of this agricultural portrayal is that if we were to sow a little seed, we would have a small harvest.  If we kept back some of our seed in order to save it for another day, the harvest would be smaller than it could have been.

The comparison to giving is similar.  When we give our money for example to  humanitarian efforts or to spread the gospel, it is like we are following a similar path as the farmer, that is committing seed to the ground. That seed will be buried but it will return, bringing with it results that will bless the entire community.

Now, the seed may be lying in the ground giving no indication of a return or of an increase.  One who is not used to the way of farming or gardening might suppose the seed was dead.  But in due time it shall spring up and produce an ample increase. So with money given to objects of benevolence. To many it may seem to be a waste, or may appear to be thrown away. But in due time it will be repaid in some way with abundant increase. And the person who wishes to make the most out of their money for future use and personal comfort will give liberally to deserving objects of charity.

That is why the farmer will not leave their seed in the silo, they will take all of it and commit it to the earth. “Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it again after many days” Ecclesiastes 11:1; that is, when the waters as of the Nile have overflown the banks and flooded the whole adjacent country, then is the time to cast abroad thy seed. The waters will retire, and the seed will sink into the accumulated fertile mud that is deposited, and will spring up in an abundant harvest. So it is with that which is given for objects of benevolence.

Then we shall reap in proportion to what we sowed. This everyone knows is true in regard to grain that is sowed. It is also no less true in regard to deeds of charity. The idea is, that God rewards in proportion to what is given. These rewards may refer to results in this life, or to the rewards in heaven, or both. All who have ever been in the habit of giving liberally to the objects of benevolence can testify that they have lost nothing, but have reaped in proportion to their liberality. This follows in various ways.

(1) in the comfort and peace which results from giving. If a person wishes to purchase happiness with their gold, they can secure the most by giving it liberally on objects of charity. It will produce them more immediate peace than it would to spend it on personal objects of pleasure or sensual gratifications, and far more than to hoard it up useless in our secure vaults.

(2)  it will produce more happiness in remembering that we has done good with it, and promoted the happiness of others, than it will to reflect that we have hoarded up useless wealth, or that we hav lost it in pursuit of our own pleasures or sensual gratification. The one will be unmingled pleasure when it comes to our time to die; the other will be unmingled self-reproach and pain.

(3) in subsequent life, God will in some way repay to us far more than we has given in deeds of charity. By augmented prosperity, by health and future comfort, and by raising up for us and our families, when in distress and want, friends to aid us, God can and often does abundantly repay the liberal giver for all our acts of kindness.

(4) God can and will reward us in heaven abundantly for all our kindness to the poor, and all our self-denials in attempting to spread the influence of truth and the knowledge of salvation. Indeed the rewards of heaven will be in no small degree apportioned in this manner.

On all accounts, therefore, we have every inducement to give liberally. As a farmer who desires an ample harvest scatters their seed with a liberal hand; as they do not grudge the fact that they have to place it into the earth; as they scatters it with the expectation that in due time it will spring up and reward their labors, so should we give with a liberal hand to aid the cause of humanitarianism or evangelism, nor should we deem what we give to be lost or wasted though we wait long before we are rewarded, or though we should be in no other way rewarded than by the comfort which arises from the act of doing good.

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