Imagine there was a plot of land available for purchase. It wasn’t very large, but it was enough to provide for your family. You worked hard, saved up enough money and purchased the title. Now, the land was yours. You owned it.
Day after day you went out and slaved away. You turned over the soil. You watered it. Rototiled the land. Just like a baker kneads the dough until it is ready, you “kneaded” the soil. You knew that without proper preparation, any hope of seeds taking root and sprouting would be futile. So you labored away, day after day, and feverishly worked hard to water, turn, and put the best nutrients into your soil.
You knew that the secret to any great harvest was in preparing a good foundation.
Finally, the day came. Your soil was rich with nutrients, tender, and receptive. You purchased your seeds and tenderly planted them. You dug tiny holes, spaced them apart, and gently covered them up. Then gingerly, you prayed and watered them.
On some days, you watered. On some days, God watered your land for you. Your family lived within their means. Humble. Disciplined. Soon, you saw little sprouts beginning to bud. Oh what joy! Such delight to see your hard work coming to fruition!
You continued to feed, water, and nurture your crops. The Lord heard you singing His praises and He was pleased. Your crops yielded a beautiful harvest which fed your family throughout the summer and gave you enough to get through the harsh winter months.
You praised God for His goodness and made preparations to nourish your soil again. The next season came, and your crops yielded 150% more. You praised God for his faithfulness. Your children were growing and you sold some of the excess so you could help your children in the future.
As the years went on, God blessed your faithfulness and you slowly set aside a little at a time so that one day you could help your children when they were grown. You wanted to give them a little “seed” money, just enough so that they could purchase their own patch of land and provide for their own family.
As you went out to inspect your latest harvest, you could not believe your eyes. The Lord had multiplied your harvest to over 300%! You lifted your hands and praised the Lord and thanked Him for his goodness. All of your years of toil, hard work, and sacrifice was being honored and blessed by Him. You went to sleep that night with plans to take in the harvest the following day.
The next morning, you awoke and went with your workers to find that your fields had been stripped bare.
You were devastated. What had happened? You hopped onto your buggy and went down to the town where everyone was all aflutter.
Things had totally changed. The town was in disarray. The king had died in the night and his son had taken the throne. The king had been known as a loving, disciplined man who was kind yet firm. His council was wise, yet at times many thought him to be too tough. But you didn’t feel that way. You felt safe and protected because you knew that the king had your best interests in mind.
The king was proud of his constituents hard work and prosperity. He knew that true riches were not comprised of bracelets, necklaces or jewels but were forged through the fire of perseverance, dedication, and fortitude.
He was known for not giving handouts to vagabonds – yet he would always offer employment. He required all able-bodied people to work providing employment opportunities for anyone willing. Although he had the riches of Solomon, he knew that unless he ignited within people their own sense of agency, none of them would have self-respect.
This garnered him some criticism, yet it was from those who were not willing to work or carry their weight. His methods provided safety to those within his kingdom as each member contributed and pulled their own weight.
And now the king was dead. With him had died all of the values that you held dear. The values that once provided safety and structure for all was now gone.
Now, the kings son was in charge. The kings son was young, naive and foolish. Because of the immense prosperity that the kings country had amassed, the son issued a new decree stating that any vagabond, roaming through the country could take whatever they need.
Just like this tree is stripped of it’s external bark, which took 25 years for it to be profitable, it needs time to regenerate and grow. Incidentally, the outer shell can only be used for cork. However it needs more time for it to become strong – and needs to be left alone so it can do it’s own work. If it continues to be stripped away, eventually it will cease to thrive and produce.
In the same way, each tree, (person) in our society, needs to focus on their own personal growth and produce for themselves and their family. They cannot take from others and rob them of their own bark (which took 25 years to develop). When a king mandates this, it will eventually kill the individual trees and slowly the forest will thin out and die.
Is this not what is happening in our society today?
Friends, whenever sin is incentivized you will see an increase in this behavior, not less. Every parent knows that if you want to reward any behavior, you give praise – but if you want to cease a behavior, you discipline.
When you go to bed at night, ask yourself if you’re proud of the society in which you live. If not, seek God’s word and ask the Holy Spirit to give you His wisdom into how He desires for you to change.
May you plant more seeds to honor God and reap a harvest for His glory.
Christy Demetriades, Ph.D.