Monday, February 7, 2011

Are You A Beggar Or A Farmer?

This is God’s big message for you today: God gives seeds, not fruits.   When God gives a fruit, He’s really giving the seeds within the fruit.
I now understand why people think that God is a miser.
Because they expect God to keep on giving them fruits.
But God doesn’t keep on giving fruits. He gives seeds. So that you’ll always have fruits anytime you want.
My Little Boy Loves To Sing
Everyday, my 5-year old Francis would sing.
In fact, he doesn’t stop singing.
One day, we were travelling from Cubao to Alabang—an hour-long ride. From the moment we left Cubao to the moment we arrived in Alabang, Francis sang out loud, Tomorrow. It was a loop. The moment he ended the song, he’d begin the song again.
After we listened to the song 6 or 7 times, I told my 5-year old boy, “That’s enough, Francis.” But he objected. He said a line that shocked me. He said, “But Daddy, that’s how I’ll get better.”
Yes, he wants to be better.
That’s why he sang that song 28 times in that trip.
Why? At 5 years old, he knows the importance of growing God’s blessing.
Two Types Of People
Let me repeat God’s big message for you today:God gives seeds, not fruits.
But we love the fruit, not the seed. So we eat the fruit and throw away the seeds.
That’s crazy.
Let me tell you how crazy that is.
Imagine you’re a multi-millionaire. And you decide to give your friend a million pesos. So you stuff a million pesos in a box and wrap it up. You walk up to your friend and deliver your big gift. Your friend says, “Wow, thank you so much!” As she opens the gift, she says, “The wrapper is so beautiful!” She then throws away the box and walks away, the gift wrapper in her hands.
       That’s what we do when we prefer the fruit over the seeds.
Here’s a very important spiritual point: There are two kinds of people when it comes to receiving blessings. (Actually there are three kinds, but I’ll talk about the third later…)
1. Beggar
2. Farmer
Question: Who are you?
1. Beggar Mindset
       Many religious people have a beggar mindset.
       They want God to give them fruits. But they’re not interested in planting and growing the seeds—so that they’ll have a lifetime supply of fruits.
       Please know that we all start with as beggars.
I’m sure that when you were born, you didn’t come out as a 35-year old guy with a moustache. Or a 42-year old woman with cellulite on her legs.
You came out as a baby.
If a baby cries because he’s hungry, you don’t tell him, “Look for your own milk! You fat, lazy baby!” Or if a baby cries because he’s wet, you don’t toss a diaper in his direction and say, “Change yourself!”
       Babies are beggars.
       Here’s the problem. Some people never grow up! They remain babies for life.
       The Israelites began in the desert as beggars.
       When the Israelite slaves escaped Egypt, they had to cross the desert. When they got hungry, Moses prayed to God to feed them. So one morning, when they woke up, they saw white, fluffy stuff hanging from the trees.
       The Israelites looked at it, picked it up, touched it, smelled it, tasted it, and asked, “What is this?” That question is the literal meaning of the word, manna.
       Can you imagine? That’s like waking up one morning, looking out your window, and seeing pan de sal hanging from the trees. Wouldn’t that be fun?
       After a few days, the Israelites began to complain. “Wala bang palaman?” (Our sandwiches are empty.)
       So God sent low-flying, slow-moving, foolish birds called quails that said, “Catch me, catch me!” And the Israelites grabbed the birds, put them in their bread, and ate to their heart’s content.
Imagine eating food falling from the sky. (My kids and I watched a cartoon movie, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatball. If you watched it, you don’t have to imagine.)
How can life be better than that? But alas, there are problems.
My Experience As A Beggar
       When I had my spiritual conversion 30+ years ago, I remember depending totally on God’s manna.
For a time, I didn’t even accept my salary as a missionary. I wanted to be totally dependent on God.
       I remember not having money for transportation.
After preaching at a prayer meeting, I’d sometimes be the last person to leave, because I had no money to go home. I’d wait for someone to invite me for a ride or to pay for my bus fare.
       There were days when I’d be walking in EDSA, praying that someone would recognize me and give me a ride. Suddenly, a car came by my side. I got excited. Yes, God answered my prayer!   The driver lowered his window and asked, “Puwede magtanong? Saan ang Aurora Boulevard?” (Can I ask a question? Where is Aurora Boulevard?) 
       When I gave him the direction, he thanked me and sped off. I ended up walking a few more kilometers that night.
       Finally, 13 years ago, a group of friends pooled their money together and gave me a car!
       Oh yes, being a beggar had its high points. It was thrilling to see manna from heaven, fall from the sky.
       I had a beggar mindset all the way until I got married.
Before I asked for Marowe’s hand in marriage, I needed an engagement ring. But I had very little money. 
I went to a Jewelry shop and asked for diamond rings. The kind saleslady showed me a lovely ring. I asked how much it was. When she gave me the amount, I lost consciousness. When I woke up, I asked if she had another ring without the three zeroes behind it. So she showed me another ring. As hard as I looked, I couldn’t see a diamond. I asked, “Do you have a microscope?” But alas, even that, I couldn’t afford.
A friend heard of my predicament and said, “My mother gave me a ring. If you want it, it’s yours.” 
So on that fateful night, I knelt down before Marowe and asked her, “Will you marry me?” When she said “Yes”, she never knew that I was so poor, I was giving her an engagement ring that wasn’t mine.
       Oh yes, being a beggar had its benefits. It was so exciting to see how God provided for me.
       But in hindsight, I realized that being a beggar had two big problems:
       Problem 1: Beggars don’t grow much.
Problem 2: Beggars don’t give much.
Problem 1: Beggars Don’t Grow Much
Because of manna magically appearing before them, the Israelites never learned how to till the soil, how to plant the right seeds, how to take care of the crops, how to sell their produce.
All they had to do was wait for food to fall from the sky.
In other words, they didn’t grow in their farming skills, their marketing skills, their teamwork skills, their management skills… They never learned how to save, how to invest, how to multiply their resources… And more importantly, they also missed out in growing in their character—their perseverance, their patience, their ability to do hard work…
For example, when I had a beggar mindset, I had zero financial literacy. I knew nothing about money management. I knew nothing about savings, investments, or entrepreneurship.
But begging has another problem…
Problem 2: Beggars Don’t Give Much
 The Israelites found out that when they kept manna for the next day, it would rot. You had to go out and get fresh manna everyday.
The Bible says, “This is the food that the Lord has given you to eat… Each had gathered just what he needed.” (Exodus 16:15)
       The wonderful thing with manna was that it was exactly what you needed. The not-so-wonderful thing with manna was that it was exactly what you needed…only!
I always hear Filipinos say, “Makakain lang ako ng tatlong beses sa isang araw, masaya na ako.” (If I eat three times a day, I’ll be happy.) I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this line from very pious people.
       On one hand, he’s simple. Content. Happy. Satisfied.
On the other hand, he’s selfish!
Because he’s only thinking of himself.
       And many religious people are trapped in this beggar mindset. They think it’s pleasing to God.
       Not realizing that, yes, we all start as beggars. But it’s not our permanent state. From the desert with manna, He wants us to move to the Promised Land where there’s milk and honey flowing.
Two Levels Of Blessing
       You can live in either two levels of blessing.
There’s “Enough” and there’s “More Than Enough.”
Where are you living right now?
In the Bible, God calls Himself El Shaddai, the God who is “More Than Enough.”
Friend, God wants to move you from “Enough” to “More Than Enough.” The only thing that prevents you from moving from “Enough” to “More Than Enough” is your mindset.
I remember meeting a friend, a preacher like myself.
He asked me one day, “Bo, does your car run on faith too?”
I asked, “What do you mean?
He told me his story. “Usually, I don’t have money to buy gas. So every morning, I look at my gas gauge. If I see it pointing to “E”, I put my hand on the dashboard, close my eyes, and pray. I say, Lord, I now claim in faith that ‘E’ stands for Enough! And you know what Bo? I drive and arrive at my destination.” And in that place, someone will give me money to buy gas…”
He then asked me, “Does your car run on faith too?”
I said, “Yes. Once upon a time, I used to do that too. I’d drive into a gasoline station and ask the boy to put in P20 worth of gasoline. But today, God has blessed my small businesses. Now, when I go to the gasoline station, I say, ‘Full Tank please’.”
God has given me seeds. I’ve grown those seeds.
Don’t just be a Beggar.
Learn to be a Farmer.
2. Farmer Mindset
When the Israelites finally left the Desert and entered the Promised Land, the Bible says that the manna stopped falling.
The manna stopped falling then, and the Israelites no longer had any. From that time on they ate food grown in Canaan. (Joshua 5:12)
       Why? Because they can now plant in God’s fertile land.
So from beggars, they become farmers.
In other words, they just don’t receive their blessings. They receive and grow their blessings.
And when you grow your blessings, you growyou. You grow in your skills and character.
There are 4 Steps In Farming.
1.)       Plow
2.)       Plant
3.)       Persevere
4.)       Produce
Each step is crucial to having abundance in your life.
Beggars want to jump to Step 4. They want to produce and harvest right away.
But Steps 1 to 3 are crucial to growing you.
Let me share one last tiny story.
Twice in my life, I received a car—gratis et amore. Without cost, it came in a silver platter. Each time, they were extremely happy moments.
But last month, I bought myself a brand new car with my own money—earned from my small businesses. And I was equally happy.
But it was a different kind of happiness.
When I received my car for free, it was the happiness of grace. When I bought my car last month from the sweat of my brow, it was the happiness ofgrowth.
Why? The car wasn’t just a car. It represented my growth as an entrepreneur. It felt very good.
The Final Transformation
Let me share my last point.
When you grow in the spiritual life, beggars become farmers.
But as I discern the movements of my soul, I realize now that to be a farmer isn’t the final goal of our spiritual journey.
There is a last stage that you need to make: To become a beggar-farmer.
You come full circle. 
I call this the second innocence.
       What does it mean to be a beggar-farmer? 
When you hold your bountiful harvest in your hand, you realize how everything—even the fruit of your labor—still comes from God.
       At the end of the day, nothing belongs to you.
       Everything is a blessing—whether seeds or fruits.
       And you give it all back to God.
       My dear friend, may you reach this stage and become a beggar-farmer for Him.
       May your dreams come true,
       Bo Sanchez

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