I’ve heard that phrase a lot – you reap what you sow. I always assumed it meant “you get what’s coming to you,” as in, you get what you deserve. I never really thought about a deeper meaning than that until I read the last chapter in John C. Maxwell’s book The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth.
The last chapter is about The Law of Contribution. It talks about the fact that in order to grow, you must give. Maxwell quotes Andrew Carnegie’s “Gospel of Wealth” and says something about two stages of life that every wealthy person should have. One is the stage of acquiring wealth and a second period of redistributing it. I believe that with all my heart.
One time, Andre and I were driving home with the kids at night from a friends house. We say an older lady walking down the road with a suitcase. Each time a car would stop by, she would put down her suitcase and plead for that car to stop. We passed her, quickly turned around and picked her up. This was so out of the ordinary for me (not for Andre), but we both felt that we needed to do it.
The lady had had a pretty rough go of life. She was very sick and was hoping to walk about 5 miles to the nearest campsite, where she was hoping she’d be able to set up a tent and camp for free (she only had $13). She had an appointment for an MRI (I believe) the next day because doctors suspected an aneurysm in her brain. She was afraid to use a cell phone or move too quickly for fear that the aneurysm would burst.
We called a leader of our church and helped this lady get a hotel room for the night. The Bishop (leader of our church) helped her get some help that she needed. It was a great feeling knowing that a system was set in place to help this lady.
What wasn’t a great feeling was the fact that we couldn’t help her. We had over drafted our account that week and had less than zero dollars. We couldn’t buy her dinner or get her a meal or anything like that. That feeling of helplessness was terrible and not one we wanted to go through ever again.
We decided then that as soon as we were able, we would be doing what we could to help others. We are already giving part of our money to our church to help those in need, but we want to be able to do more. We are in the period of acquiring wealth, and don’t have tons to give, but when we can, we do. No one has ever gotten poor through giving. Each time we do have a chance to give to others, I have no doubt that it has come back to us tenfold in ways that we have and haven’t seen.
I have deviated a little bit from the original purpose of this blog. During the time of acquiring wealth, it can get really frustrating to not see your hard work pay off. Working extremely hard at a job or child raising or a new business or whatever you’re working hard at doesn’t always pay off right away. Sometimes it feels like you’re working and working and working and no one notices. You washed the dishes 5 times today and they’re still dirty. You went the extra mile on that task at work with out even a thank you from your boss.
When you plant a garden, you start by planting seeds. A while later, you start to see plants emerge from the ground. But that plant didn’t go straight from a seed to a tiny little plant pushing it’s way through the dirt. There was work happening under the ground. There was growth and effort and intense work going on that no one saw until the day came that the little plant pushed it’s way through the earth. And even then, that plant is good for nothing. You can’t eat a seedling. All you can do is look at it, water it, nourish it, and hope that it will continue to grow.
And assuming you continue putting in the work and all the conditions are right, it will grow, and eventually, you get that fruit or vegetables or grains or whatever you planted. It’s at THAT moment that you get to reap what you sow.
It’s the same thing with life. You don’t get to plant seeds and immediately reap the benefits. There is a waiting period. A cultivating period. A time where you have to keep working and keep hoping and keep on KEEPING ON until the time for harvest.
The problem is that so many people give up too soon. They give up after they plant the seed, never doing the work until harvest comes. They don’t weed, they don’t water, they don’t nourish the plants, or opportunities in their life. All it takes is persistence. All you have to do is NOT GIVE UP.
Whatever it is you’re working on right now, DO. NOT. QUIT. You have it in you to do amazing things. You can push through this trial of life and emerge victorious and stronger than you ever thought possible. You can reap the harvest when the time is right, but only if you’re still around to gather in the fruit.
We never want to feel helpless like we did in that situation with the homeless lady, so we have decided that we will continue bettering ourselves until we are to the point that we can freely give all that we have to those in need. Because that is what this life is all about. Helping other people. Uplifting those around us.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this post. Please leave me a comment if you enjoyed it and I will be sure to respond.