SOW IN TEARS--REAP IN JOY!
In all the wonderful new revelations about sowing and reaping
-giving and receiving-we just may have overlooked an important
truth. Yes, if we give, we "SHALL RECEIVE" --
Jesus said it! And that should settle it! What we
may have missed is the fact that it may not always be a JOY
to sow or to give. Now before you think Paul has backslidden
or embraced some new heresy, let me explain a few, possibly,
NEW things. I'm afraid that some may give sort of like
buying a lotto ticket! Schambach says: "GIVE and
you will come out of debt!" We all say: "GIVE
and you will be blessed, healed, loved ones saved" and
on and on.
Last year a disgruntled giver wrote me asking for his gift back! He said, "I gave like you all said and got NOTHING from God in return!" So, what went wrong? Is the Word of God not true? Let's look again.
Two things the Holy Spirit spoke to me about this: First of all, this request was like a farmer planting a seed one day and going out the next day to curse the ground because he had no increase! Next, he digs up his seed, puts it in his pocket, and walks away saying, "They are all liars--sowing and reaping does not work!" We laugh at a simple illustration like this, but that is exactly the conclusion a few come to. They disbelieve the Word of God because their 'lotto ticket' didn't hit the jackpot the next day! I want to scream -- "Leave your seed alone -- let it germinate -- water it, yes, with tears sometimes. Dig it and dung it, as Jesus said. Pull out the weeds -- YOUR HARVEST WILL COME!" If the good farmer treated his seed the way some of us do, we would call him a foolish farmer!
Secondly, as our theme scripture shows, sowing may not always be joyful it may be painful! Ah, dear Partner -- this is a truth the prosperity teachers have overlooked: "HE THAT GOETH FORTH WEEPING..."
I will never forget Jan and my first experience with this truth. We were the assistant pastors at First Assembly of God in Rapid City, South Dakota. The church paid us $10.00 a week, so we both got 'day jobs' to survive! I made about $60.00 a week at the NBC TV station, and Jan made about $60.00 a month as a dental assistant. By the time we made the trailer house payment and bought some groceries and diapers for Paul Jr., there was NOTHING left to buy a pound of hamburger! If I had not gotten a couple of wild deer that winter, we would have starved! Oh, me of little faith! I confess, with sorrow, that we did not always tithe the 10% that belonged to God!
One Sunday, the pastor told the congregation that we needed a special offering to remove a row of large trees beside the church. The city was widening the street and they had to go. As assistant pastors, we felt we had to do our part, so with some fear and trepidation, we pledged the great sum of $25.00, which, believe me, we did not have! We did not know it at the time, but we had just put the law of God into motion -- HIS LAW OF SOWING AND REAPING! Yes, we "SOWED IN TEARS" that Sunday, because $25.00 was about a month's worth of groceries to us back in 1959.
So, did God supply our need, you ask? Well, it certainly was not the way I would have done it! Jan came home one day -- in tears -- and said, "Honey, I wrecked the car!" All you husbands know the gut-wrenching pain from those words! "But it wasn't my fault," she went on, between sobs. "He hit me from the rear -- I was stopped!" she cried. I went out to view the rear end of our little Volkswagen bug. Oh boy -- guys, you know the feeling -- bumper mashed up against its little rear motor. Fortunately, it still would drive. When we sat with the insurance company to collect the repair check, he looked at Jan and said, "Since you are signing an unconditional release of State Farm Insurance, I am increasing your settlement check by $25.00!" A lightening bolt that would have split the desk between us could not have startled us more! The pledge, we had made at our church weeks earlier, flashed in both of our minds simultaneously!
My God -- He really does supply our needs -- was born in a new way in our hearts that day! So with JOY we came to church the next Sunday -- "bringing our sheaves with us"! Yes, that simple little experience started Jan and me on a whole new road of God's law of "giving and receiving." So, have we been perfect givers ever since? NO, but I am a witness that every time we have put this law of God into motion BY GIVING FROM A HEART OF LOVE AND GRATITUDE TO HIM -- it has worked! Remember, it is not always easy to sow or give to God -- sometimes we do it with TEARS. In some cases, we PLEDGE in tears, because we do not have it to give, just as Jan and I did not have $25.00 -- but, oh the JOY, when God miraculously supplies it!
I could give many other illustrations of sowing in tears. My own dear father, Andrew Crouch, gave his life as a missionary to Egypt. He literally broke his health traveling throughout that desert land in open car railroad cars in up to 130 degrees of heat and died at the early age of 52! He sowed in tears and never lived to see the JOY of REAPING. But I wept in my spirit as Jan and I stood last year -- viewing the thousands of little satellite dishes on every house and apartment roof in CAIRO, EGYPT! Glory, glory, glory be to God Most High -- WE ARE REAPING with great JOY, what those precious pioneers sowed in tears, as we receive reports daily of Egyptian souls coming to Christ!
Praise God for a little auto accident that taught Jan and me the simple ABC's of "Sowing and Reaping -- Giving and Receiving"! And can we even imagine what JOY we will all receive, standing before the Great Throne of God with millions of souls rising up to call us blessed -- because we SOWED IN TEARS to raise up a mighty Voice called TBN!
Dear Partners, some of us are required to sow in tears -- but remember Jesus said that when we give up houses and lands, brothers, sisters and all worldly things for His sake and the Gospel's --
Dear Partners -- put God's Word to the test. Let's ALL give or pledge a gift to see this Gospel keep going to the ends of the earth. Together, WE ARE DOING IT! Praise the Lord! Your Harvest is ON THE WAY, just as Jan and I proved it! But you have to do it HIS WAY --
Water your gift with a few tears if you must -- but get ready to "REAP IN JOY"!
P.S. We'll see you for another week of REVIVAL PRAISE-A-THON:
APRIL 1 - 6
Jan and I, with all your favorite singers and ministers, will be there LIVE! Let's SING and SHOUT and PROVE God's great miracle blessings of SOWING and REAPING -- GIVING and RECEIVING!
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