17 Sep Cultivating Bumper Crops
“Jesus replied, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 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 that it requires the proper soil, water, temperature, and light conditions for seeds to germinate. In simple terms the seed must die to reproduce. In this verse, Jesus used seeds to picture 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 that we give up our control. God takes our seed and works a miracle to produce a harvest of righteousness in others. The sowing and reaping principle means that you reap in proportion to what you sow. If you sow with caution, you will reap a poor harvest. If you sow with abundance, you will reap a bumper crop. This truth should compel us to give as much as we possibly can—and then give more!
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 that your ministry is a good investment that will produce a spiritual return on their gift. Tell your “many seeds” stories to encourage your donors to plant their single seed.
Have a Spirit-led fundraising week,
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 two books: Ask for a Fish – Bold Faith-Based Fundraising and Simply Share – Bold, Grace-Based Giving. He regularly presents fundraising workshops at ministry conferences and has written fundraising articles for At the Center magazine and Christian Leadership Alliance’s Outcomes magazine.