Reap what’s Grown, not just GivenBlessing
Isaiah 37:30 “This will be the sign for you, O Hezekiah: “This year you will eat what grows by itself, and the second year what springs from that. But in the third year sow and reap, plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
My pastor; Chris Drury always notes that churches often only reap what grows by itself. They accept their growth as whoever comes through the door and make no effort to fertilise or expand this harvest.
As Isaiah prophesied to Hezekiah, there is a similar principle at work in our lives. When starting out on a new venture or stepping into a new season God often blesses richly right away. He makes it easy for us as we step into what he has got us to do. However this season only lasts a certain time, after which we must reap what we have sown by ourselves.
Often, churches fail to recognise this and wonder why the immediate growth doesn’t last. Me and Claire are getting married in 3 weeks and we are grateful that people will bless with money and gifts as we start our new life together. This will provide us with a great foundation as we step into this new season, yet we cannot expect people to keep giving us money and gifts 1 year later! The time of immediate blessing finishes and we must sustain ourselves by what we sow and work for ourselves.
With church plants I have heard of great numbers and excitement at the start, but after a while this dwindles and numbers drop again. God has a habit of giving us a rich foundation and then he expects us to stand on our own two feet. It is the same principle in training children, we do everything for them at the start but then expect them to do things by themselves as they grow. Of course it always God that brings growth but it is up to us to stimulate that growth by what we sow!
Just as God sustained the Israelites with manna all throughout the desert, but as soon as they entered the promised land and were able to grow crops, the manna stopped.