What we give (sow) or invest in, will give us a harvest (profit) in a direct ratio - it will be more of what we sowed, or gave. Maybe lots more! Therefore, give - sow - what you want to reap.
More plainly, a farmer does not sow corn and hope to get chickens - even a great crop of carrots would disappoint him!
This principle is found in the Bible in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7, "Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."
If the harvest is in direct ratio to how much is sown, it's easy to get more of what you want to have; increase the seed sown to get a larger harvest! However, if we want to apply this principle to values that are most important to us, we need to ask ourselves some questions and work on the answers. Do you give - sow - what you want to to reap?
First of all, what are you sowing? How much of it are you sowing? Let's let the farmer illustration fade to the background and apply this right now to giving and generosity.
What are you sowing in;
giving gifts or financial support?
volunteering your time?
sacrificing yourself, your skills and personality?
How much are you reaping from that giving:
in joy and blessings that the recipients get from your gifts?
the happiness of those with whom you spent your time?
or the helpful work you accomplished?
new and deeper relationships with those to whom you gave yourself?
And, can you see tangible results of what you did or created?
Are you seeing results on the scale you hoped?
Do the results warrant the investment you made?
If you give more money, is more money be generated, will more good happen?
If you give more loving time, does the relationships grow?
If you stay at a project longer, is the work completed?
Are you getting positive feedback from new friends or acquaintances?
Are others responding to you and working with you?
If you are not getting what you would like to see happen, it is time to ask yourself still harder questions. What exactly would you most like to see as a direct result of your investment of money, time or yourself? How much of that kind of result is good enough for you?
It is very likely that you should change what you are sowing, and how much of it you are investing. In the business world, if you invest money, you want to see a monetary profit in a reasonable amount of time, or you should pull out of that venture.
If your passion is to see helpless, unloved orphans put into caring homes and blossoming, then sending money for Bibles to be distributed in another country altogether, is well, rather foolish, isn't it?
If you see tangible goods gathered and shipped out, with great sounding numbers, then investing your time to sit as a companion with the handicapped or dying is not sowing what you want to reap. You would shine better at fund-raising or working in administrative roles with some ministry or non-profit.
If you want to get to know people, and have them connect and relate to you, then sending out large cheques to charities is not going to make you feel very fulfilled, necessary as that might be for the survival of any number of missions. At the very least you should also be volunteering to work with 'at risk' youth, perhaps in a club setting where you can be a friend to kids who are starved for love and friendship.
We need to get a clearer sense of what is most valuable and important to us, and invest our "giving" in ways that will give us the greatest sense of satisfaction and productivity. That doesn't mean that when we see another need that is in our power to meet, that we turn blindly away from that. A little extra sacrifice - because we know that is important too - may be in order. But if you can find the best places for YOU to give and invest of yourself and your 'stuff', jump in wholeheartedly, sow generously - and both you and many others will benefit with tremendous joy.
Now we can think of many more questions to ask and discuss, right?
We will. Right now, though, I suggest you thing through these questions until you have a clear sense of what you want to give - sow what you want to reap. Take time to do it. It will make many other questions much easier to answer afterwards.