People have been asking me a lot lately about the process of naming your seed when you sow an offering.
So, I want to share three keys today that will help you discern between good ground and bad ground. If you evaluate every ministry or church into which you sow in light of these three keys, you can tell pretty easily which is which.
These three keys will show you where your seeds will thrive, bringing you a thirty-, sixty-, or hundred-fold harvest … versus where your seeds may die in the ground (or bring you a stunted harvest at best).
Here are the three keys to distinguishing between good ground and bad ground:
1. In order for you to be sowing into good ground, the place you’re sowing into must obey the Word of God–the Bible–above all things.
Honoring the Word of God is more important than anything in a church. If you want to see a harvest, you can’t sow into a ministry or a church that:
- doesn’t honor God’s Word;
- doesn’t believe God’s Word;
- takes out parts of God’s Word that it doesn’t like;
- refuses to obey God’s Word;
- preaches the Word from the pulpit but does another thing behind the stage doors.
If you want to sow into good ground, you can’t sow into a place that goes against God’s Word.
There are churches out there that are preaching all kinds of heresy. Stay away from those churches!
There are places preaching that homosexual marriage is okay; that homosexuality is not sin. There are places that are teaching that abortion is okay, and that it’s not sin. There are places that are preaching that women can’t minister or preach from the pulpit.
There are places that are preaching all manner of ungodly things, and none of those things are true.
Then, there are places that will preach the Word but they won’t do it; they’ll do something else behind closed doors. If you’re sowing into a place like that, you’re either not going to get a return at all, or it’s going to be a tiny little return.
When I’ve sown into a place like that (not knowing what kind of place it was, but finding out later), the seed never did come up. Why? Because it was stony ground; it was rocky ground; there was nothing for the seed to grow in. You’ve got to have the Word as the sperma (which is the Greek word for God’s Word)!
The Word of God is the sperma. It’s the incubator; it’s the thing that grows. If you’re not sowing into the Word, then your seed is just not going to grow. Honoring the Word is priority #1, and a place that’s good ground will honor the Word.
2. In order to be good ground, a church or ministry must actually worship God–including worshipping Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity.
How can you tell if they worship God? Easy: The Holy Spirit has to be in control in that place, or they’re not worshipping God.
Think about this:
There are some churches where the Holy Spirit is not in control.
In those places, the clock is in control; the schedule is in control; man’s predetermined ideas are in control. But the Holy Spirit is not in control.
If you are sowing into a place where Holy Spirit is not in control, then Jesus is not Lord in that place. If God the Holy Spirit is not in control of a place, then God is not being worshiped in that place. And if you’re now sowing into a place where God is not being worshiped–where He’s not being exalted above all things; where Holy Spirit doesn’t have the reign–then you’re not sowing into good ground.
Know this: A place that is good ground will give Holy Spirit both the REIGN and the REINS. They worship Him and give control over their service and ministry over to Him (REIGN). They also let Him do whatever He wants (REINS).
If Holy Spirit does not have both the REIGN and the REINS, He is not being worshipped.
Unless we give Him those two things, He is not being worshiped. He is not in control; man is. And if you’re sowing into a place like that, your seed is not going to come up well for you. Oh, you might get a tiny little harvest, because Holy Spirit is going to try to go in there and work as much as He can. However, when man is in control and not the Lord, there’s only so much that God can do.
I have sown a whole lot into places where Holy Spirit did not have the reign or the reins, and I didn’t realize it at the time. I didn’t realize that I was sowing into bad ground, or ground that wasn’t fertile.
But, later on, after I had sown into other ground as well and could compare multiple kinds of seeds, I could see that there is a huge difference between sowing into good ground and sowing into where it’s not good ground. And in order to be good ground, Holy Spirit has to have both the reign and the reins.
Next, the third key to discerning the difference between good ground and bad ground:
3. You have to sow into a place where growth is allowed.
This is certainly not more important than Word or Spirit, but if there is a place that is operating in a spirit of control, your seed is not going to grow. Why? Because growth is not allowed there.
When there is a ministry or a church that operates in a spirit of control, that spirit of control manifests in a lot of different ways. One of the ways that it manifests is that people are not encouraged to grow. The leader tries to keep the people under their thumb, not encouraging them to spread their wings. And if people do spread their wings, they’re squashed, smashed, or talked badly about.
A spirit of control also manifests by trying to control Holy Spirit. For example, if there’s a church service and the leaders don’t allow Holy Spirit to move but instead they say, “No, we have to stick to the program. We have to end this service by 12:00 noon.” that’s fleshly control. It’s certainly not an example of handing the reins to the Lord.
If Holy Spirit shows that He wants to do something different than what’s on the worship order, we have to go with the Holy Spirit.
That is what every single church and ministry leader needs to do. That’s not always easy; it’s definitely hard sometimes. As a leader of a ministry myself, I can say that sometimes we get really excited about our plan. We get excited about the sermon we wanted to preach or the songs we wanted to sing.
Of course, anything we do with Holy Spirit is fun if we’re just willing to follow Him. However, changing the plan and making sure the Lord has the reins can be a challenge. You just have to be totally sold out to the Lord, saying, “Lord, even if I never get to preach my amazing word that I worked so hard on and I’m so excited about, I don’t care, God; because I’m going to follow You.”
That’s where we all have to be. If you’re sowing into a ministry where that happens, where the church services and ministry are not controlled by man, but are rather controlled by what the Lord is breathing on, that’s a good thing.
People have to lead; don’t get me wrong.
However, there’s a big difference between control and leadership.
If you’re sowing into a place where the whole environment and atmosphere are controlled by man–a place where growth is not encouraged–then your seed will not thrive.
If you’re sowing into a place that is so much under the spirit of control that:
- people are not encouraged to start their own ministries;
- people are not encouraged to branch out;
- new ideas are not entertained even if they’re now always implemented …
Then your seed will not thrive.
In order for a place to be good ground, there has to be an environment where growth is encouraged.
Bottom line is this:
Your seed cannot thrive if you cannot thrive. Your seed cannot grow if you cannot grow.
That’s really the essence of what you can use to base your analysis on after looking at people’s obedience to the Word and after evaluating how much Holy Spirit reigns in a place. After you look at those two most important criteria, then ask yourself:
“Is this a growth environment? Am I thriving here?”
If you can thrive, your seed can thrive.
But if you can’t thrive, your seed can’t thrive either.
Beloved, if you’re going to reap a good harvest from the financial seeds you sow, you have to sow into good ground.
And in order to be in good ground, you’ve got to be in a place that’s thriving and where the people are thriving. They have to be obeying the Word and everything about the Word. They have to follow Holy Spirit, handing Him both the reign and the reins. And lastly, you have to be in a place where growth is encouraged in order for your seed to grow and bring you a harvest.
Have you been sowing into good ground? What makes the ground you’re in good or not? Leave a comment below!