Have you ever wondered why ‘good’ people don’t get what they deserve? Have you ever wondered why you don’t get what you deserve – especially when others who work less than you seem to be rewarded with more? Have you ever wondered why ‘bad’ people don’t get what they deserve either?
You reap what you sow
[So, brace yourself for a long one today – this is a sermon for believers and unbelievers alike who would like to create wealth and a life to the full. If you prefer Audio, then follow this link to Soundcloud.]
Sowing, Reaping, and the Law of Karma
Many of the World’s Great Religions preach a message of balance and fairness.
- You will get what you deserve, they say.
- You will reap what you sow, they assert.
- What goes around comes around, they preach.
Except it doesn’t work, does it?
The trouble with this doctrine is that it then begins to spawn very bad beliefs around the sick, the needy, and the disadvantaged. In a ‘Fair Universe’ – religious thinking suggests that somehow these folks deserve what they are getting. I don’t like that.
And Jesus doesn’t like that way of thinking.
Jesus’ own disciples got in on that act too. Encountering a man born blind, they asked the theological question, “Who sinned that this man would be born blind? The man or his parents?” (John chapter 9). Jesus’ answer was unambiguous, “Neither!” Well there goes that horrible theology that suggests innocents get what they deserve. Doh!
Ultimately, all will be revealed and life will be seen to be fair – this is our hope. So let’s lay aside the issue of why the baddies don’t get what they deserve straight way. Instead, let’s turn our attention to those of us who mean well and yet still struggle.
90% of people don’t reap what they sow and here’s why…
Fruits Come from Roots – and roots take time to put down
In the parable that explains exactly why some seed sown never makes it to fruition, it begins with showing us that, sometimes, the seed doesn’t have a chance. It can’t even get started. All that potential but the wrong soil spells disaster.
The first problem, Jesus says, is that the devil comes and snatches the potential away from those who are like seed sown on the path. There’s nothing wrong with the seed – every seed has the potential to bear fruit. Instead, the context, the environment, is at odds with the possibility for growth.
In this scenario, the ground is hard – there’s no opportunity for the message to take root. Laying the issue of the devil aside for a moment – we’ve all met these people (and perhaps have even been them?) This is the situation where the heart and mind just aren’t ready, willing or able to receive.
When the student is ready, the teacher will appear… but sometimes the student just isn’t ready!
This is the ‘Richard Dawkins’ of anti-potential. The mocker. The cynic. The sceptic. And sceptics are septic if you really want to change. They spread a poison of despair.
They have a veneer of credibility but it is really a veneerial disease. Dis-ease.
Now before you get offended, I’m happy for the Richard-Dawkins-types to have their questions (provided it’s a proper intellectual and scientific debate and not merely a cover for emotional or emotive invective.) What I’m not happy about is them spreading their herbicide in my garden and trampling on the soil of my heart until it is hardened.
Our first ‘cure’ then is to guard our hearts and minds from septic scepticism, and to deepen and enrich the soil of our hearts and minds with openness and a willingness to change.
It’s so simple:
Watch what you watch!
Be on your guard what you listen to.
- Does it empower?
- Does it energise?
- Does it set you free?
OK, what’s the second challenge we must face?
Jesus says that some seed is like that sown on rocky soil – no root.
When trouble comes because of what you are hoping for and believe, the crop fails
I do not assign special significance to the King James Version of the Bible, but here it offers an additional insight. It says that when trouble comes in direct opposition to what you believe, those of us who haven’t established a decent root system…
This was my life story. I received each hopeful possibility with gladness, with joy. Each glimmer of hope was embraced happily and whole-heartedly. Then I would endure and persevere for a while, but when circumstances pointed long enough in the opposite direction, I would get offended and give up. I would allow doubt in.
Have you been there too?
Are you there now?
Well the good news is that there is a cure for this too.
Our second cure is to realise that it is the nature of things for the opposite to happen to what we are hoping for.
We must take the time required to put down stronger roots of hope if we are to bear the fruits of faith.
Even stony soil can bear fruit if it is fertilised and watered. And it doesn’t hurt to improve the quality of the soil by throwing out some of those stones, does it? Stones have names: bitterness, unforgiveness, jealously, resentment, malice, greed, lack of generosity – and their buddies. Whenever your heart feels hard or heavy, trust me, there’s a stone to remove. We understand the danger of kidney stones and gallstones, but few people realise there are heart stones too. Like kidney stones and gallstones, they appear and develop over time. There’s even a NT phrase: “the gall of bitterness.” Get rid of these poisonous stones and go free.
Living in the Truth makes you feel free.
Attend to the roots and the fruits will take care of themselves.
Your roots are your values and your attitudes and your expectations. If Jesus knew what He was talking about, His message is clear on this: part of your journey is to get the opposite of what you want, desire and expect. Isn’t this “The Heroes Journey” that we find in Literature. Every hero suffers a reversal of fortune.
You & I have to stand firm and put down deeper roots – that’s our job. Knowing this, we can take adversity and opposition as a sign that we’re heading in the right direction.
The Age of Distraction
The next challenge is particularly pertinent to the 21st Century: distraction, and thus lack of focus. It is possible to choke all the potential out of all the possibilities you receive in this abundant universe.
Every idea you have is a seed – a seed that has the potential to bring you a harvest
But it is equally possible for your better life to be choked by a trinity of foes:
- Worries about this World
- Deceitfulness of pursuing wealth and riches
- Lust for ‘other things’.
How do you spend your time? Is your very time focused on developing your roots? Are your hours invested in improving your soil, in preparing your soil, and in opening your soil to good seed?
Or have you been distracted by Sky, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Facebook and other Social Media? Am I ‘down’ on these things? No! My question is one of proportionality. What proportion of your time are you giving to these things?
An Entrepreneur is someone who will invest the focused time now to buy time freedom …later
And if you want to worry about this World – just make sure you get three square meals a day of News updates. That’ll fill you with fear, dread and disgust! Flee to South America for the West is falling! (Or is it Westeros?)
What about the deceitfulness of wealth and riches? That’s a potential embarrassment for me as the WealthCoach, isn’t it? Well, the key is in the ‘deceitfulness’. True wealth is never about the money or the pursuit of it. It’s about the mission, the vision, the values and adding value. And it’s about fair exchange in return for value rendered.
Jesus is clear on this too. If your financial ambition is to build bigger barns, store up riches for yourself, and take it easy, He’s got one word to describe you: fool!
‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.’ And he told them this parable: ‘The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, “What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.”
‘Then he said, “This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’”
‘But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?”
‘This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich towards God.’
That’s an easy third cure then, isn’t it? It’s OK to be wealthy and to have an abundant harvest as long as we are rich towards God in our times of plenty (and, I would argue, in our times of hardship too. Being faithful and generous with small wealth is the best indicator of what we will do with abundant wealth.)
Bluntly, this means being rich towards the poor and needy. It means putting a roof over the heads of those who don’t have shelter. It means feeding those who don’t have food, and getting fresh water to those who need it. It does not mean giving tax breaks to the wealthy and to corporations. Any political party that does this is not following God.
Lovely, lovely ‘Lust’!
‘Lust’ is one of my favourite words! I have a ‘lust’ for Life – I really do. One of the Greek words used for ‘lust’ means ‘a strong desire’. No harm in that. The issue is the target of those desires! What is it you truly desire? What is the object of your desires?
In the parable, the target is beautifully ambiguous: ‘other things’. Luke’s version of the parable is even more alarming:
The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.
Or in the King James Version:
And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
‘Mature’ and ‘Perfection’ of our fruits are possible. But there are pests, and these pesky pests are pretty attractive – well, at least two of them are: riches and pleasures!!
Does this mean it’s back to beige for me and thee? Is it time for Camel-hair underwear? Is it the season to wear a face that’s got stuck sucking sour lemons?
No! No!! No!!!
It’s OK for your life to be filled with joy. It’s OK to receive possibilities with gladness. It’s OK to be rich (if you are rich towards God). It’s OK to wear a coat of many colours. It’s OK to have such good underwear that people cast lots for it when you are promoted to the next life. You have the spark of life in you – divine life – it’s OK to fan that spark into a flame that burns brightly – it’s OK to set your light on a lamp-stand so that it brings brightness wherever you go. It’s OK to be open about your success – like a city on a hill – plain for all to see.
Our fourth cure is to focus.
When worries arise, realise that they are a result of our focus.
When wealth distracts, realise we have shifted our focus onto the wrong matters.
When pleasures take up so much time that no fruit is coming to mature perfection, realise that it is time to shift focus.
You get more of what you focus on.
I am an Entrepreneur – with a Wealth-Mindset. My mission is to add value to everything and everyone I engage with. That’s my focus.
It’s not about what I can ‘get’. And, surprisingly, it is not just about what I can ‘give’. There must be an exchange of value. God expects fruit and who am I to argue against God? However, He looks after the fruit – my job is to mind the soil, receive the seed, and nurture my roots.
Surely, this is enough?
Perfection and maturity are bound to the time-line. They come only with perseverance, with patience. Fruit is seasonal. There is no fruit in Spring, Summer or Winter.
I’ll let Luke say if for me:
But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
Have patience till your personal Autumn comes.
The conclusion of the matter
May your honest and good heart be on guard against:
- The Sepsis of Scepticism
- Distraction – lack of focus
- Offence at direct opposition – the opposite happening to what you hope for
- Worries of the World – the anxieties of this age
- Deceitfulness of riches and wealth
- Desires for other things – including too much pleasure!
Instead, I wish you:
- Clear focus
- Deep roots – rooted in beautiful values
- A generous heart towards others and God
- An open heart – with deep joy and effervescent appreciation
- And the gift of patient perseverance that brings perfect fruit to maturity!
[Neil ‘Lex’ McKee is a paradoxical preacher. A Theologian who teaches believers and unbelievers alike how to create, nurture and bring forth Wealth to perfection! If you’d like to build wealth with a spiritual core, you can join his WealthClub by subscribing here.
If you join soon, you have just enough time to get on board with our 2020 Vision – to be focused on financial freedom by 2020. Why ‘just enough time’? Well, because we believe it takes 3 years to become financially free.]