Recently, I was having a discussion with my Aunt about a challenge I was having relating to giving of my time and myself. Let me go back a little bit, I am a giver – I used to be a really bad giver in the sense that I gave until it hurt, but thankfully now I have grown to a level of giving with wisdom rather than just blindly giving. But, when I give I have a tendency to expect that when I am in need those I have given to will be there to give to me. They may not be able to give at the level that I had given to them, but I expect at the very least a supportive “I’m here for you.” After talking to my Aunt, I realize that I am alone in my feelings on this and so I decided to write this post so together we can work through it.
So, how do we get past it when the people we give to (and the giving could be tangible items like money or non-tangible items like time) aren’t available to give back to us. How do you handle it? How do you get past the frustration that could occur from not receiving from those that you have given to? The answer is simple - be thankful for who is with you. That sounds a little different, but it’s what we have to do - be thankful for those who are there for us. Let me explain.
When I first learned about the principle of seed time and harvest time from a biblical perspective years ago, the one thing I expected was that my seed would come back to me the same way or better than it was given out. So, if I sowed $500 I expected to receive that or more back, but when my understanding matured, I understood that my seed would not always come back to me the way I gave it (and sometimes it would). For example, I have sown books into people, but I did not receive the books back, I received what I needed at the time (money, time, favor, etc.) as a harvest. So, what does this have to do with being thankful? Everything! You see when we give to people, whether it’s our money, our time or something else, we are sowing seeds into their lives that will one day produce a harvest for us. Here is an example, last year I won a prize that included a significant amount of grocery store gift cards and I knew that a friend of mine had a need for groceries, so I took her grocery shopping and let her get what she needed for her family. But, recently when I was in need of groceries, it was not my friend that brought groceries for my family, it was someone else. Even though I did not sow a seed into the person who brought us groceries, I received a harvest from the seed I had sown into someone who had a need last year. The example I gave is just one of many I could point out and yet, when faced with a different situation earlier this week, I was frustrated by the lack of harvest I received from someone I'd sown into and I had to take the moment to really find out why. The reason I was frustrated was simply because I was looking for my harvest in the wrong place. Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever expected someone to do something for you only to end up with disappointment? Have you ever been on the expecting end of a deal only to be let down after giving all that you had? If so, then you know exactly how I felt (past tense).
In my situation, I was frustrated because someone that I cared deeply for and admired very much had yet to acknowledge a need and in fact, they were in my estimation having a very selfish moment. I didn’t need anything from this person, but I did want their support, but I was met with a conversation that lacked empathy and compassion. When I sought to reap the harvest I had sown into them, there was no harvest available. I had sown seeds, but when it came time for me to reap the harvest, I realized that was not where my harvest was. When my Aunt said to me, "be thankful for who’s with you and don’t worry about who isn’t" I was reminded that your harvest does not always come the way you think it should. We have to be thankful for the harvest when it comes and that may not be from the place you planted the seed. I believe God honors seed sowers, even when the seeds are non-tangible, and when the harvest comes, it may not be the way we think, but we have to recognize the harvest and be thankful for it.
As for me, I realized that I was expecting something that the other person was unwilling or unable to give me and I am now OK with that. I also understand that in the midst of my frustration about not seeing a harvest where I’d sown seed, God sent my Aunt to uplift me, encourage me and love on me (the harvest I was looking for). So, today I can tell you that I am not only thankful for her being there (harvest) but I recognize that God sent my harvest at just the right time to be a blessing in my life.
So, I say to you today, don’t be so caught up on where you’ve sown seeds that you miss the harvest coming up in a different location I know I almost did and boy, what a disaster that could have been. Be thankful for who's with you and as for those who are not, don't stop doing for them but do so with wisdom. This is a journey we're all taking together so as always, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Liela Marie Fuller
Author, Mother, Friend, Believer in Jesus...Really Just Me.
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