At church the last couple weeks we've been taking about how God is our Provider, but sometimes the way He provides, isn't exactly what we've been expecting.
One of the pictures that has helped me the most in this conversation is the difference between an answered prayer in seed form, or in bread form.
Sometimes when God answers our prayer, He simply gives us exactly what we need. For example, we are hungry, and God gives us bread. Sometimes however, God gives us something that will meet our need, as well as meet future needs for us and for others. For example, we find ourselves hungry, and God gives us a seed to plant, that will produce much fruit for years to come. Enough for us, and enough for others.
Both are answered prayers, one meets an immediate need today with little effort on our part, and one meets multiple future needs, but it only comes when it is partnered with some effort on our part.
God provides, but sometimes He provides... strength to endure, creativity to make a way, strategy to overcome, or people to encourage and walk with us.
There is a big difference between being given something to meet an immediate need, and being given something that, partnered with some effort will meet a greater need, or a need in a greater way. Yet both are indeed kindness, and both are indeed provision.
When talking about this, sometimes this reality is met with comments like, "That's not real kindness!" or "I thought God was supposed to be faithful?"
In light of these types of questions, I'd like us to consider this...
God is indeed faithful and He will always keep His promises. But God’s faithfulness doesn’t force you and me to walk into our full potential.
Achieving every good goal, and making the best of every opportunity, isn't something God forces us into, it's something He makes a way for.
We walk into our full potential and opportunities by faithfully and consistently taking the seeds He's given us, and planting them, nurturing them, caring for them, and seeing them through to maturity.
2 Corinthians 9:6 says, "The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully."
We are meant to take those seeds God gives us and plant them! We are meant to care for them, and then we get to see them grow!
You may have a natural gifting for music, but your full potential won't come by simply using what musical ability you've been given. The greater thing is found by investing in and working on what you start with, bringing it to a creative future far better than your starting point. This makes way for greater opportunities, and likely involves helping and teaching others along their path.
You may be a gifted entrepreneur, but you're full potential isn't found in simply being able to lead a small business from scratch. The greater thing is found when you invest in and work hard to dream, plan, cast vision, and successfully move into the unknown territory in front of you. This makes way for more job opportunities for others, and likely involves generosity and insight shared with other business leaders along the way.
God is a Good God, and He indeed gives bread, and I'm thankful for that. Yet I also believe God is passing out seeds, perhaps even more often than bread; waiting for us to partner with Him. When we do, we will be walking into a greater future; not only for our benefit, but for the benefit of our families, communities, churches, and friends.
What seeds have you been sitting on? What can you do this week to plant and cultivate that seed, so that it can become a mighty life giving tree in your near future?