In numberless ways God will bring us back to the same point over and over again. He never tires of bringing us to the one point until we learn the lesson, because He is producing the finished product.Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
“Yeah, I think I’m prepared.”
Isn’t as strong a statement as, “I am ready to receive anything that comes my way.”
The pinnacle of readiness can be found in a youth baseball player, when he gets around the ages of 13 to 15.
They have been playing long enough to have put in the work preparations in practice to feel confident when taking the field.
They trot out to the infield and “get ready” by dropping their butt and having both hands out in front of their body, on the balls of their feet, placing themselves in a position to go to wherever “the play” takes them.
That’s ready to receive.
But it has taken years of practice, even at those young of ages, to “understand” what all the practice was for, and why it’s important to prepare in advance of receiving a ball that’s hit in your direction.
How do we prepare to receive anything in life?
Can we prepare to be ready?
What are we sowing in our lives? Do we understand whatever it is that “we are” receiving is directly tied to our choices of what we have sowed, and the preparations we made to receive what will be coming up.
It’s one of the oldest principles out there.
7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. ~ Galatians 6:7-9 Courtesy of BibleGateway
In it’s simple form, we look towards a good ol’ green Wisconsin corn field.
A farmer plants corn… IN ORDER TO GET CORN, and they get a lot of it!
He can wish for roses, or apples, but he’s gonna be real disappointed after buying a bunch of long stem glass vases… instead of a new fancy corn crib.
That’s a ridiculous thought… right?
Of course he expects to get corn. Of course he has grain silos. He may plant a few roses out front of the parlor for his wife… but that’s the extent of expecting any flowers to pop up at harvest time.
Note: If roses pop up in that corn field, they get sprayed away, because a rose by any other name will still smell just as sweet… but in a corn field it’s just another weed.
My experience has shown me that we float through life, like dandelion fluff, but because we are resilient we will set down roots the first chance we get.
But as resilient as we, and dandelions are, we… and dandelions grow alone.
I know, there are lots of dandelions, but ever notice they don’t grow as a crop would?
They look pretty covering a field… but that’s it… there is no planned sowing, they just show up, all haphazard like. They aren’t readily used anymore, so there isn’t any planned reaping, and when we do receive them it’s with a resigned indignation knowing they are destined to be mowed… over and over again all summer.
The principle can’t be denied. Dandelions beget dandelions; Roses, roses; Bluebirds, bluebirds; Grubby thoughts, grubby actions.
I’d like to look at the component of “receiving” today.
Maybe you have prepared to sow, gathering seeds and planting tools. Maybe you have prepared to reap, and you have a bushel basket, potato bin, or that corn crib ready to go.
But are you really “ready” to receive?
Ok… How much?
Yeah, how much?
Unless we are a farmer, we never think of that part. We reap, we sow, but we never look at how much.
Or… more crucially… how little… we are actually receiving in life.
That’s a shame.
“How little Dave? I never heard it put like that.”
Me neither. Until I heard a radio preacher mention it once.
I looked it up and found three amounts in the bible that struck a chord in me.
A cup. A lap. And a floodgate’s worth.
Found in Psalm 23; Luke 6; and Malachi 3
What are you expecting from what you have sowed in life thus far?
Let’s take a big one. Like “gratitude”. [Thought I was gonna say money, didn’t ya? Don’t worry. We’ll get to that.]
I wasn’t grateful for a long time in my life, especially when it came to my money. [see I didn’t make ya wait]
Over the course of time my relationship with money turned “grubby”. I always worked… but never seemed to have “any for me.”
I wasn’t grateful for the work I did have. I wasn’t grateful that I had the position of being able to sit and whine about money as an adult, as when I was a kid my parents didn’t have what I was complaining about.
And I wasn’t gracious with my money, or my attitude when I truly didn’t have any.
Then the Holy Spirit sent me to class one day.
“Perseverance must finish it’s work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” ~ James 1:4
A ten year old girl who was selling popcorn for the local girl scout troop.
She was walking up to the house as I was pulling in the driveway.
Here’s the thing.
I had just had a great day with “my money”. I thought it was funny that I actually had $10 bucks left in my wallet. Up to that point in life I very rarely, if ever, got to keep a 10 in my wallet. What with a wife; kids; bills…blah blah blah.
“Hello there young lady. How can I help you?”
[Drum roll for affect please…]
She said, “I’m selling popcorn for girl scouts. Would you like to buy a package? They are only $10 bucks each!”
I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t prepared.
It left a sick feeling in my stomach…
But it has been the single most vivid life, spiritual, and mental lesson I have had to learn, thus far.
It came 18 months later… but I got it.
And with that lesson learned so long ago, recently I asked myself, “Are you ready to receive anything if it comes your way?”
Can you be grateful for where you are right now? Can you be grateful to receive and gracious in the receiving of anything coming your way?
“And Dave, what are you expecting to need for your next harvest… a cup, a lap, or the Hoover Dam to bolster those floodgates?”
At the time, I wasn’t prepared, nor was I ready to be generous. I hated giving money. I didn’t have it to give. It made me feel sick inside.
I would gladly give of myself, and my time, to help, that’s easy for me to do. [Saved a ladies life once because of that, but that’s another story.]
I realize you can’t give something you don’t have, but I was angry at myself for not having it in the first place.
And when I did have it… I still didn’t give it.
Instead, I told her, “Come back tomorrow.”
I have learned other Godly principles since then… principles like…
*God uses multiplication; cast your bread upon the water and it will return; give and it will be given;
But the stronger statement, the concrete lesson and principle… “if you have it, give it”
“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
when it is in your power to act.
28 Do not say to your neighbor,
“Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”—
when you already have it with you.” ~ Proverbs 3:27-28 Courtesy of Bible Gateway NIV
I had no expectation of receiving anything, so I was ungrateful, so I never received what I thought was due me… grubby thinking, grubby results… indeed.
Took me 18 months to rectify that dishonorable action… her family moved like three times.
Take a moment and identify the crops popping up in your life right now.
Is that what you sowed?
Have you prepared to receive them?
What are you expecting? Corn or thistles?
How much? A cup full; A lap full; or a flood?
Are you ready?
Got your glove?
Writing to ENCOURAGE, EQUIP & ENGAGE. You can read about more life lessons I picked up in my catalog of books found on Amazon.