Have you ever heard people say, “I always give and give, yet I get nothing – or very little back – in return!”?
Or have you ever thought that about yourself?
If yes, these might be some reasons why: (This is a long read because of the numerous examples, so grab some popcorn.)
(1) Your Harvest(s) Might Simply Be Taking Time.
A few years ago on my birthday, I woke up depressed. It was not a service day, but I went to church that morning. In the open and empty church, I worshipped, spoke to the Father, poured out my heart to Him – then left.
Before the end of the day, apart from the other gifts I received, I got FOUR jewellery sets.
I was very surprised and thankful – yet, while I am aware of the Father’s love and generosity, I also knew there was more more to it.
So I asked, “Father, why four jewellery sets?!”
Immediately I asked, I had a flashback.
Four years earlier, I had gone for a women’s conference. It had been a powerful meeting and I had been tremendously blessed. Offerings were collected and I gave all I had. Then a second offering was called for – and I really wanted to give something because I had been so blessed. So I removed the jewellery I had on me – earrings, pendant, necklace and bracelet – and dropped them in the offering basket.
I totally forgot about it – until the harvest came in and the Lord reminded me FOUR years later.
Some seeds just take time. Remember the Chinese babboo? Exactly.
I remember a popular minister talk about how he gave neck-ties out to people – and started getting back ties almost immediately. However, when he started sowing shoes, they didn’t come back as fast. When he asked why, the Lord told him that all seeds do not bear fruit at the same time – but they would eventually yield in their own time.
God doesn’t owe anyone – and He is a God of integrity. Even when you forget your seed, He doesn’t.
(2) You Didn’t Give. You ‘Invested’.
Let me explain.
When you give, biblically at least, there are no strings attached. It leaves your hand for good – and you don’t expect anything back in return.
However, when you invest, you put something in to get something out – which is what many people do.
In an investment, both parties are aware there is something to be gained by everyone – and it is clearly spelt out.
However, in giving, the recipient is the sole beneficiary. The only thing the person ‘owes’ you is gratitude. When you give, and the recipient responds with a heartfelt “Thank you”, that ‘debt’ is paid.
If you get upset when the receiver doesn’t reciprocate – especially in a way similar to how you gave – you didn’t really give. You invested – and, unfortunately, your investment didn’t yield expected returns, which ties up closely with the next point:
(3) You Are Looking At The Wrong Source.
God said, “You will reap what you sow” – not necessarily where you sow. Many are angry with others because they have ‘given’ and not received back from them the way they expected to.
There is the law of reciprocity, yes, and healthy relationships are symbiotic. However, there is a reason God is called the Lord of the Harvest. Among many other reasons, the reward/harvest comes from Him. Once you remove your gaze from the recipient, and look to Him for the reward, He astonishes you.
I usually say that, if we let Him, God has a million different ways to meet just one need.
(4) You Already Got Your Reward – From The Public.
Joyce Meyer humorously and honestly shared how she went for treatment at a beauty parlour. There were two workers present, and the one who attended to her was a Christian. During their discussion, Joyce felt led to give her the beautiful ‘JESUS’ lapel-pin she had on. Soon, the second attendant stepped out for a brief period – creating a perfect opportunity for the gift to be given.
However, Joyce waited until the lady got back, then ‘presented’ the pin to her attendant.
Both ladies oohed and aahed, gushed over the pin and thanked her profusely – then Joyce said she heard the Holy Spirit tell her, “I hope you know you have just gotten your reward.”
If you give to be praised by others…
If you tell someone else how you gave to/blessed another person (except when absolutely necessary)…
If there is an opportunity to give privately, but you still choose to do it publicly – for whatever reason…
If you give, then grumble about it to another person…
…you have already gotten your reward. Don’t expect a harvest.
(5) You Don’t Recognise Your Harvest When It Comes.
Jesse Duplantis shared how he gave a major seed, and was believing God for a harvest. One day, a friend invited him and another friend to invest in a piece of unwanted land at just $1,000 each. Jesse had the money right there in his pocket, but he felt reluctant. He felt the Spirit nudge him to invest, but his logic calculated the seeming ‘worthlessness’ of the land, so he refused.
The other friend did the same, leaving the guy who invited them to buy the land by himself at $3,000. Not long after, the US government wanted to build a project – and they had to pass through that unwanted land. They offered to buy that land for almost a thousand times more than what was paid for it. Jesse says he still kicks himself till today – and the buyer always laughs fiendishly at his two friends.
Most times, when we give – money especially – we expect it back in the same form. However, your harvest might come in the form of an idea to execute, a partnership to be part of, a job opening, an investment you are offered – or even people who will connect you to your next level.
“Father, open my eyes to recognise my harvest/blessings” is a very good prayer.
(6) You Gave Reluctantly – And With a Wrong Motive.
There’s a difference between giving sacrificially – and giving reluctantly.
I remember discussing with someone who was very, very unwilling to give someone a gift – and kept grumbling about it.
I finally asked her, “So, why are you giving?”
She replied, “Because it would look ‘somehow’ if I don’t give her.”
I told her, “Let me get this straight: (i) Spiritually, God will not reward your kind of giving (ii) Emotionally, you will be more resentful, and (iii) Materially, you will still forgo your property. Why give and lose out on every count?! If you don’t want to give, don’t give!”
Even more than ‘how’, your ‘why?’ is very important. Are you giving to control the recipient(s), to control a situation – or because of what people will say? Check your motive.
(By the way, when you feel reluctant to help/give to certain people – but you feel God is leading you to do so, ‘give it to Jesus’ instead. Tell Him, “Jesus, I am not giving this to XYZ. I am giving it to You instead” – then give as unto the Lord.)
(7) Demonic Forces/Agents Might Be Affecting Your Harvest.
I recently listened to a message about a young man who came from a long line of poverty-stricken ministers. Because of this, he didn’t want to be a minister. One day, when he asked why they were so poor, his dad opened Scriptures and showed him how they must suffer for the gospel’s sake. (Talk about religious/spiritual blindness.)
Finally, the young man got intensely frustrated and locked himself up for days with God – until he had a revelation on the 21st day. In it, he saw an immense, extremely high gate guarded by a big black bird. Apparently, the bird was a principality in the father’s house, and it asked the young man how he dared approach.
In summary, the man rebuked the bird, the creature died – and the gate swung open to reveal treasures piled high behind the gate. These treasures then poured into their home.
Two days later, the father started receiving calls from people who had been impacted by his ministrations – from a looong time ago – and who now wanted to bless him.
Yes, there are ‘good men’ who have sown and didn’t reap their harvest because there were agents who held up the harvest – or diverted the harvests to themselves.
So, if your generosity doesn’t seem to be yielding as it should, check any of these reasons.
Or ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes.