that luxury is standing in the bathroom drying my hair. Often God will drop nuggets of blessing into my mind there. The other day I was just thinking about how blessed my husband and I have been. We truly have never gone without anything that we have needed for all the years we've been married. As I stood there, I just pondered at how gracious and generous the Lord had been to us.
The thing I was pondering was how God had used others to care for us when we were all down with food poisoning. The help and care we received was almost overwhelming! Then my mind went back in time to 1999 when we had a devastating accident. Again, the help was abundant. As I was just marveling at it, the Lord said to me, "you sowed it."
Now before you go thinking that I am a works oriented person when it comes to salvation, let me emphatically say that I AM NOT. Salvation is by grace through faith alone. However, there is a little thought of principle (at least I never spent a lot of time thinking about it until I was drying my hair) called reaping and sowing. This principle is misused and abused by t.v. preachers everyday, but it is still a principle that God has ordained. I asked the Lord, "when did I sow this? I don't remember." The Lord then brought to my mind a Facebook comment a friend had made a few weeks before when I mentioned that we were all down for the count. Evidently I had diligently cared for her through an illness when my youngest daughter was very small. Trouble is, I don't remember doing it! But I sowed. He reminded me of my childhood and the many times I had used my allowance money or begged my Mom to take me to the store to buy ingredients for soup for a sick congregation member or neighbor. As a teen, I spent an entire summer caring for a new mother who was sickly who had a baby that was sickly. Her husband worked away during the week and I rode my bike 2 miles every day to help take care of her and the sick child. I didn't get paid, no one even asked me to do it. I just did. Then he reminded me that I had taken a sick student into my home and cared for him for a week, even taking on a professor over a final he had to take. These were all things I had totally forgotten about and some that I still barely remember doing.
I began to think of other times when it just seemed that I was blessed beyond measure. When my kids were small, my husband was pioneering a church. This meant getting 4 children dressed and ready for church by myself because we were moving equipment every week to the venue where we held our services. I was the worship leader and the only musician, so I had that added responsibility every week so you can imagine that the devil did all he could to upset the apple cart every Sunday morning to assure that I got to church frazzled, frustrated and distracted. Then the Lord provided a teenager. She just volunteered out of the blue to come to the house every Sunday morning to help with the children. While I was in the shower she was upstairs wrestling with my boys go get their clothes on. While I was dressing, she was feeding them breakfast. It was an absolute joy to be able to stop at the local convenience mart for something my husband needed on the way to church without dragging 3 kids out of car seats! I thought to myself, "Lord that woman has a lot of child care coming!" She has four beautiful blossoms of her own now.
Every time I have needed to paint my house, I have always had help. (You see, a paint brush does not seem to fit in my husband's hand so I am left to my own devices to get the painting done.) One friend in particular has been exceptionally helpful in that area. (You know who you are DT!) The Lord reminded me of when I was just a new Christian so excited to be part of a congregation and there every time the doors were open-even when the expanded sanctuary needed painting. After work every day, for over 2 weeks, my best friend at the time and I went to church and painted and painted and painted until finally the job was done. I sowed.
For most of these things, I had no idea about reaping an sowing. I only had an idea about serving. So I served, but in the process I also sowed! And all through the years, I have reaped-abundantly above anything I could have ever imagined. Acts done from a pure heart unknowingly produced a harvest in my life. I've heard preachers say "if you need something, sow it." I'm not totally opposed to that idea because the principle works when done in faith but I think we need to be careful that we don't allow greed and the idea that we can manipulate God into giving us something creep in.
In Matthew 25 when the Lord separates the sheep and goats He says: 34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for youfrom the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
Our lives are full of sowing and reaping, even when we aren't paying particular attention, even when we aren't keeping a scorecard or a ledger book of all that we do for the Lord. It's just His way to reward us for the things we do. He is a "rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." When we seek Him he changes us. When we allow Him to mold and change us on the inside, our acts will be righteous ones and our reward will be wonderful. When we fight him and act out or our flesh, our reward will be that those acts will be done to us in even greater proportion. You see one kernel of corn sown in the ground produces a whole ear of corn seed. So in sowing and reaping the effects are exponential. It's a sobering thought!
My personal favorite are the things done for the Lord because of the Lord with no expectation or thought to reward. I like to call them "love acts"--those things we do because we love Him and because He has shed His love abroad in our hearts. Those things we do because that is who He has made us. They come naturally out of the new nature that he has placed in us. We do them without thinking about sowing or reaping. We do them because it's just who we are now. And then, after HE does all that, WE get the reward! What an amazing God we serve! These cause us to be able to "look to our future and smile." And when God blesses us, we aren't patting ourselves on the back saying "I earned this", we are just falling on our knees in gratitude thanking God for all His goodness to us.