Seed Costs Money – Mark 4:26

This is a series that appears on a weekly basis here at – “Biblical Financial Lessons”

Seed Costs Money – Mark 4:26-29

26 He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28 All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. 29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”

Most financially broken people fail to recognize the fundamental fact that in order to have a harvest, one must first sow seed.  No matter how much you pray, seek God, call down fire from the heavens, or plead with God to bring you a tremendous harvest, one will have no harvest if seed is not sown.  This is so clear to me because I grew up on a farm.  If we did not invest the time and energy to plant seed in the Spring, there would be no harvest in the Fall.

People get fired up about the idea of a huge harvest, but then they realize that seed costs tremendous money.  For example, special hybrid seed can cost 20 to 30 times what the harvested seed will sell for!

Think about an author who dreamed of having a published book, but no publisher would print it for them.  Without being willing to spend money to self-publish the book, the author would just be standing around hoping for her dream of having a real-life printed book become reality.  BUT if she were willing to spend money to self-publish the book (sowing the seed), the author would be positioned to reap a harvest as the book was sold around the world.

MAIN POINT: Most people remain broke without ever reaping a tremendous harvest because they lust for the harvest, but are unwilling to spend the money necessary to acquire, plant, and cultivate the seed.

Application Questions

  1. Have you saved up money to be able to purchase seed?
  2. Are you actively sowing seed?

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  1. Patricia Bailey on April 25, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    Yes I am sowing seed. I have signed up for auto tiedes to come from my checking account as well as consistantly saving for a downpayment on my retirement home. Still trying to stop digging my own hole but I have a real shopping addiction which is sometimes hard to control. Bills are being paid with the help of your budget and dreams are being realized (paying on a Medetrainian Cruise). So please keep me in prayer. Thanks

  2. Frank Rue on April 26, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Mr. Sangl:

    A friend of mine retweeted your link to this article this morning. Out of curiosity, I visited to read this, and, I must say, I can’t really see how this works on a number of levels.

    1. This biblical text has nothing to do with money. It doesn’t even have to do with farming, really. It has to do with the “kingdom of God” (as put plainly by Christ). It is about the eternal salvation of God’s people, and about God’s sovereignty in giving the increase of *salvation* after we have sown the seed of the *gospel* into the lives of those around us.

    2. Taking a biblical text about God’s sovereignty and the eternal salvation of man’s soul and making it somehow about money is presumptuous and irreverent, and it mars the bride of Christ by equating her courtship with the acquisition of money. Shame on you for that.

    3. As a hobby farmer, and a member of CSA, I must also note that your point about the cost of seeds is out of proportion with your thesis. Seeds are worth pennies—even hybrid seeds! The harvested crop is worth significantly more. I pay $500 for a year’s worth of produce, whereas the farmer will pay less than $10 for the seeds that make up my take.

    4. Financially, your application questions are vapid: what is “the seed” in this metaphor? Investments? Bonds? Putting money into a savings account? When or what am I sowing? Time? Energy? Money? Without any kind of detail to this, it’s just nice-sounding clichés, right? How is this helpful to anyone—even financially?

    5. Your entire post and title and tweet sound distinctly like the Prosperity Gospel peddled by lesser men. You know: the idea that you have to “put in the seed money” to “reap the harvest”, while hucksters take your $1000 and your prayer request and spend it on another month’s installment for their 3rd Bentley. Why would you even want that potential association?

    I know I’m being a “downer” here, but I do not appreciate your bruising of the image of the bride of Christ in this manner—at all. As a fellow Christian, it’s our duty to point these things out to one another, so I hope you take this into consideration.

    In Christ,

  3. Nancy Jansen on April 26, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    I agree with only one point you made – that is number 4. I would have liked to read more about what type of “seed” was being talked about.

    Then I realized that this article has so many applications it would have been detrimental to be specific. We sow seeds in many ways. For instance, the seed of the offering (not to be confused with tithe which is a command) is a see of obedience – following an urging from God to contribute additionally out of your own 90% produces greater rewards from God.

    However, another “seed” would be investing the time in education or job search if you need a job to better support yourself. If you aren’t making enough to support yourself or your family, then you need to invest into some form of job training whether that be specific or general education.

    Another “seed” we sow is kindness. How do we expect others to be kind to us if we are sowing seeds of discourse?

    Financially, we cannot reap the harvest of retirement, unless we sow seeds of savings.

    Relationally, we cannot reap the harvest of friendship, family, and marriage unless we sow seeds of Love and Time.

    In our Christian walk, we cannot reap the harvest of growth until we invest in the seeds of faith.

    So as you can see, this is very FAR from the prosperity Gospel. This is about reaping what you sow. As for the Bible verses mentioned, it is a parable. In parables we are taught to understand the principle being taught and not the specific example. In the kingdom of God, we are to sow seeds of truth to harvest the souls of the unsaved (into salvation). However, the principle being taught is that you have to plant the seed to get the harvest and THAT principle has a multitude of uses.

  4. Mary on May 4, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Thanks for this, Joe!
    The Lord spoke through you, my husband has been wanting to start up his business that the Lord has called him to start!! It is hard for me because it means him investing more time and money, than his current job! But we both know God has put this on his heart for a reason – to reach others for Christ! So THANK YOU!!! Also, your budget is still changing our life. We are so thankful
    For you and the wisdom God has given to you!!

  5. Dalton Blankenship on May 5, 2012 at 2:03 am

    Frank, I think you didn’t read Joe’s post, or maybe even the scripture quite as well as you might have. What I read of the scripture indicates to me that, even though God is the God of the harvest, I am responsible for the planting. He gives me what I need FOR the harvest to occur (my spiritual gift or gifts) but if I don’t see fit to use what he has given me (the seed for the harvest), then he can’t make anything grow through me. I don’t see that as the negative prosperity Gospel that you seem to.

    You say the scripture has nothing to do with money. When we read scripture, the Holy Spirit reveals to us what he wants us to know. What is revealed to you may not be what is revealed to me. To say to another Christian that a scriptural interpretation is one thing or is not another is disrespectful to say the very least and Phariseeism at its worst. Somebody had to buy those seeds, and the seeds cost money. So, the scripture probably has something to do with money.

    As to your point #3, you didn’t read correctly what Joe wrote. He said the cost of hybrid seeds could be 20-30 times the cost of the harvested SEEDS, not the harvest, as you indicated.

    We are here for two reasons: to worship God and win souls. We do that through the seeds he has given us. If we don’t plant them, they die or are at the very least useless. There is an investment required of us to work in the kingdom: we tithe, we are charged to be generous, to provide for those less fortunate than ourselves, to disciple others, to lead by example and God has promised to be faithful to care for us “though [we do] not know how.” And sometimes, it seems that the harvest does come in as if it is “all by itself.”

    But it isn’t. We have our part to play. And that is obedience after submission. We have to do what God tells us to do-each thing. We take the seed that was originally paid for with the blood of Christ, and given to us, if you will, at the time of our salvation. We have to agree to be the planters, the submissive share croppers who plant what God desires so that the harvest we get to reap will be more souls for this kingdom. If there is any prosperity there, it is God’s. We just get to share in the joy. And we get to share in the peace of knowing we are doing what we are called to do, and that we are living the abundant life he has promised to give.

  6. Rev. C.L.(Chuck)Troupe on May 21, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    I suppose it’s okay to use the word, “seed” to characterize different things in secular life (such as the seed of deception, or the seed of friendship, and the like) … maybe even in Christian life it might be okay to do this.
    HOWEVER … caution should be always be used here. Through the Bible the word, “seed” has some very limited usages. Be careful NOT to use the word “seed” in the context of ANY sermon or preaching message! Liking the word, “seed” to money is NOT one of them! That is totally false, and lying teaching!

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