Thursday, June 03, 2010
SACRIFICING TO GIVE
“Those who cry as they plant crops will sing at harvest time. Those who cry as they carry out the seeds will return singing and carrying bundles of grain.” Psalm 126:5-6 (NCV)
A missionary tells about understanding the significance of this verse for the first time. During a time of drought the tribe with which he was working saw their supplies of corn stretched to the limit. He recalled seeing a father take one of the last bags of dried corn out of his families store room. This corn could have been pounded into meal to make the cakes that were the staple of the families diet.
But, instead, he took the corn to the field where he sowed the seed into the ground. The missionary saw tears flowing down the man’s cheeks, and he understood. It hurt to put into the ground what might be his families last meal. Yet he knew that without sowing that seed his family would certainly starve the next year. So he sowed with tears knowing that he would one day reap with joy.
What’s the lesson? That we should give away our last meal? Of course not! The lesson is that it’s not always easy to “generate generosity!” When we talk about “giving cheerfully” it can sound as if giving is always an easy thing to do. That simply is not true. For those who give there is often the strange mixture of sacrifice and joy. You know that you’re doing what is right and yet it is often hard to let go. That’s true when we give our time, our money, our talents or ourselves.
But the truth is there is an inevitable law of sowing and reaping at work. It’s a natural law. It’s a spiritual law. Those who sow in tears WILL reap with joy. The result of our sacrificing to meet other’s needs is not just a feeling of satisfaction, well being or “having done the right thing.” It is JOY! What is joy? It is an overflowing sense of God’s perspective on life, an overwhelming experience of God’s presence in life and an overarching knowledge of God’s security for life.
Family discussion question: Can you remember a time when it was difficult for you to give something? (Even preschoolers can think of an answer to this question!)