Cultivating Bumper Crops

“Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds” (John 12:23-24).

Seeds are miraculous. Farmers and gardeners know it requires proper soil, water, temperature, and light conditions for seeds to germinate. In simple terms, the seed must die to reproduce. Jesus used seeds to illustrate his death and resurrection. Because of Christ’s death—the one seed— “many will be made righteous” (Rom. 5:19). Jesus invites believers to follow in his steps. “Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25). God calls us to work in his harvest field, but first we must die to ourselves.

Sowing and Reaping

The dying seed principle applies directly to generous giving. The money we give becomes dead to us in the sense we give up our control. God takes our seed and works a miracle to produce a harvest of righteousness in others (see 2 Cor. 9:10). The sowing and reaping principle means you reap in proportion to what you sow. If you sow with caution, you will reap a meager harvest. If you sow with abundance, you will reap a bumper crop. This truth should compel us and our donors to give as much as we possibly can—and then give even more!

Death Throes

Many donors struggle with letting go of their possessions. The rich young ruler desired to follow Jesus but when he learned it would cost him everything, he became sad because he was very wealthy (see Luke 18:18-23). People think they own things, but often things own them. Jesus warned, “the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word (seed), making it unfruitful” (see Mark 4:18-20). Present your ministry partners with gift opportunities to stretch them. Encourage them to die to their own will and reap an abundant spiritual harvest.

Multiplication Factor

Communicate your needs to your donors by emphasizing the eternal results their gift will produce as they partner with you. Help them understand how your ministry will multiply their gift in the lives of the people you serve directly, and how the chain reaction of one changed life will impact many others. The students you educate today will be leaders tomorrow. The homeless person you feed, clothe, shelter, and retrain now will become a productive community member in the future.

Eternal Impact

Often colleges and universities conduct an economic impact study demonstrating their value to the community. Frame your appeals with an “eternal impact” perspective proving your value to your constituency. Donors want to know your ministry is a good investment producing a spiritual return on their gift. Tell your “many seeds” stories to encourage your donors to plant their single seed.

Think About This:
Paul gave up everything to follow Christ and encouraged believers to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1-2). The main problem with being a living sacrifice is we keep crawling off the altar!

Father, help me communicate the incredible eternal impact a generous gift would make in the lives of the people we serve.

Ron Haas has served the Lord as a pastor, the vice president of advancement of a Bible college, a Christian foundation director, a board member and a fundraising consultant. He’s authored three books: Ask for a Fish – Bold Faith-Based Fundraising, Simply Share – Bold, Grace-Based Giving, and Keep on Asking – Bold, Spirit-Led Fundraising. He regularly presents fundraising workshops at ministry conferences and has written fundraising articles for  Christian Leadership Alliance’s Outcomes magazine.

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