BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had leprosy. During supper, a woman came in with a beautiful jar of expensive perfume. She broke the seal and poured the perfume over his head. Some of those at the table were indignant. ‘Why was this expensive perfume wasted?’ they asked. ‘She could have sold it for a small fortune and given the money to the poor!’ And they scolded her harshly. But Jesus replied, ‘Leave her alone. Why berate her for doing such a good thing to me? You will always have the poor among you, and you can help them whenever you want to. But I will not be here with you much longer. She has done what she could and has anointed my body for burial ahead of time. I assure you, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be talked about in her memory” (Mark 14:3-9, NLT).
Needs are common to all. There is no one exempted from needs, not even the most anointed man or the most powerful political office holder on earth. There is no one who, on his or her own, can meet all her needs. There is always a need that your money, your hard work, your intelligence, etc. – as important and as good as they are – will not be able to meet. That is what makes you and everybody else human. So those who think that by hard work and more enterprise they will be able to personally meet all their needs are only deceiving themselves. There are needs that even money cannot meet. God has ordained that everybody will have one need or the other and no one can personally meet all the needs in his life. We have to sow seeds to meet our needs.
In the passage above, Jesus had been meeting others’ needs through diverse miracles but he needed someone to anoint his body for burial ahead of time but he never told anyone of this need. This woman, without even understanding the implication of her generous action anointed Jesus’ body for burial ahead of time. It was an expensive perfume which she profusely poured over Jesus’ head and she was unfairly criticized for it. I’ve always wondered why she should be criticized for ‘wasting’ what belonged to her.
However, the woman’s seed yielded an eternal harvest because Jesus said, “Wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be talked about in her memory.” That has been the case ever since including my reference to the woman’s generous giving in this message. The woman met the need of Jesus and got a strange harvest in return. “If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving — large or small — it will be used to measure what is given back to you” (Luke 6:38, NLT).
The book of John, in its account, reveals the identity of that woman as Mary, the sister of Jesus’ friend, Lazarus. It also tells us that Judas Iscariot was the disciple who condemned her action and the reason for it though other disciples could have felt the same way. “Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, ‘Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?’ This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it” (John 12:3-6, NKJV). Judas also had a need – money – which covetousness had created in his life. And see how went about meeting this need.
Everybody has a need in one area or the other. The only difference however is that people approach meeting their needs in different ways. Some may decide to lie or steal while others may decide to harm or kill. Some others may decide to collect bribe while others may just be content with praying to God trusting for His provision. To meet some needs, some people may decide to consult witches, wizards, spiritualists, diviners, etc. and all of them operate on similar wave length while some may resort to faith in God and genuine servants of God. Some worry about their needs while others pray about it. There are also those who do neither of these two – they have given up; it doesn’t matter whether anything changes or not. But the truth is that all humans have needs.
Steps to meeting your needs
Here are some steps you need to take to meet your needs:
1. Make God your source. You must differentiate between your Source and channels of blessing. They are not the same. One will not replace the other. Let nothing try to replace God as your Source. Your work, business or what human beings call means of livelihood is a channel of blessing and there could be several of such channels but God should be your only Source.
Understanding of this truth will make you not to be afraid or anxious when one channel of income (blessing) closes because you still have intact your Source where the blessing is flowing from. Supply may stop flowing to you from one, two or three channels but your Source does not run dry. If you understand, whenever you find yourself in such a situation, you will simply do what Phil 4:6 says: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything” (NLT). There is really nothing to worry about because your Source does not go bankrupt! He has everything in abundance. “For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills. Every bird of the mountains and all the animals of the field belong to me. If I were hungry, I would not mention it to you, for all the world is mine and everything in it” (Psalm 50:10-12, NLT).
As great as Apostle Paul was, he had needs in his ministry. While he appreciated the supply sent to him by the saints, he made them know that he had learnt how to be content – how to endure lack and how to enjoy surplus; and the fact that he had taken God as his Source – he could do all things through Christ who gave him strength. “But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4:10-13, NKJV). This should be the mindset of every child of God whose needs in life and ministry will be met. This is how to ensure that you don’t become the servant of anyone except of the Lord. Don’t put your trust in anybody’s purse. You will remain a slave forever if you do this. Take God as your Source and learn contentment – how to enjoy surplus and endure lack. If you do, “you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail” (Isa 58:11, NKJV).
2. Make up your mind to meet your needs and not allow your needs to destroy you. Be prepared to meet your needs and not lament over them, pretend they don’t exist or try to ignore or avoid them. Anyone who does that is just not facing the reality of his or her condition. How can one be pretending that his bank loans overdue for payment, outstanding children’s school fees or utility bills, etc. do not exist? That is not wisdom. A wise person will look for ways of meeting these needs rather than pretend they don’t exist.
Needs don’t go away because you pretend they are not there or ignore them. They don’t also disappear because you are busy lamenting their existence. These are wrong attitudes to needs. With such attitudes, the needs will keep on growing in size, become more complicated and assume more embarrassing dimensions.
Making up your mind to meet your needs includes adopting some practical measures such as getting your priority right, investing your time in productive labour rather than loafing around, wise saving, prudent management of resources, avoiding ostentatious living and impulsive and compulsive purchases, etc.
3. Don’t let your needs become cares, worries or anxiety. God is concerned about your needs. Warning believers not to babble on and on as people of other religions do when they pray, the Bible says in Matt 6:8, “Don’t be like them, because your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!” (NLT). Did you see that? God knows exactly what you need. Luke 12:30 says a similar thing: “These things dominate the thoughts of most people, but your Father already knows your needs” (NLT). That’s good news to those who think God doesn’t care a hoot about their condition.
God knows your needs and my needs. And not only that, God wants to help you to meet your needs. That is why you must not allow meeting legitimate needs become cares or worries. Matt 13:22 talks about the cares of this life which, among others, the devil uses to crowd out the word of God in their hearts so that it does not produce fruits in their lives.
4. Sow seeds to meet your needs. As good as prayer is, some needs will not answer to prayer unless you sow seeds. That is not a contradiction of what I have said before; it is complementary.
Your prayer becomes more effective when you’ve sown seeds for the supply you want God to give you to meet your needs. Many people pray and sow no seed. It is like a farmer who is praying and fasting for rain yet he has not planted any seed. Even if the rain falls, only weeds will grow on the soil of his farm. How many people have prayed for long over certain needs in their lives and didn’t get any answer? It could be because they’ve not sown seed.
One lie you can tell yourself is that needs will take care of themselves. The truth is that they don’t. As I’ve already said, they’ll increase in size and become more embarrassing if you don’t meet them in time. Needs don’t take care of themselves and there will always be need. As you meet one, another one will come, and you must meet needs as they come.
For instance, in 2 Kings 4, if that widow had not been able to meet her financial need, the creditor would have taken away her two sons despite the fact that her late husband was a servant of God who feared God! Thank God the woman feared the creditor! And that made her run for help from Prophet Elisha who God used to deliver her from her financial need that would have embarrassed her further. “Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen” (2 Kings 4:1, KJV).
After the woman told Prophet Elisha about the miracle of the flowing oil, Elisha told the woman: “Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest” (2 Kings 4:7, KJV). It was not enough that her husband was one of the sons of the prophet or feared God; they remained the servant of their creditor until they paid their debt. “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender” (NKJV).
Identify your needs and sow seeds for the harvest that will meet the needs. It’s not enough to pray. It’s important that you sow seeds that will either meet somebody else’s need or will provoke your faith in God making God to intervene to meet your own need. Just as the time of your sowing seed is real, so shall the time of your harvest. “As long as the earth remains, there will be springtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night” (Gen 8:22, NLT).
You cannot miss your harvest if you sow your seed. It’s useless expecting harvest when you have not sown. Gal 6:7 says, “Don’t be misled. Remember that you can’t ignore God and get away with it. You will always reap what you sow!” (NLT) The Bible goes further in verse 9 to say, “So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time” (NLT).
There is a promised harvest for those who sow, and their harvest will be dependent on what and how they sow. God doesn’t cheat anyone. If you so little, you’ll reap little. 2 Cor 9:6 puts it thus: “Remember this — a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop” (NLT).
God will not force anyone to give. He always wants cheerful givers and that is why He wants each person to determine what he wants to give. And nothing that is given as offering or as seed in expectation of a particular harvest is a waste. “You must each make up your own mind as to how much you should give. Don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves the person who gives cheerfully. And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others” (2 Cor 9:7-8, NLT).
Excuse for not giving
The excuse many give for not sowing is their needs. Their usual song is: “I don’t have anything to give. I have needs too and I need people to give me also.” Unfortunately they do not know that this line of thinking is what the devil is using to perpetuate the needs in their lives. The need becomes the barrier to their sowing yet the answer to their needs is in their seeds. Who will save them?
Wisdom is profitable to direct (Eccl 10:10). Wisdom says sow your seeds in the midst of your needs to meet your needs but foolishness says otherwise. Foolishness wants to be stingy. Hear what Prov 11:24-26 says, “There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty. The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself. The people will curse him who withholds grain, but blessing will be on the head of him who sells it” (NKJV).
There are many people who daydream about just seeing some persons coming in to them and just give them some money, some help, some assistance that will meet their needs. “I wish someone will just come in now and give me N100,000 or give me a car, etc.” They keep on imagining this happen. They pray about it but it never happens. They want others to meet their needs yet they have never met the needs of other persons who they’re in a position to help.
The truth is that everyone is in a position to help someone else. If you want some people to be the answer to your prayer, how many people have you been the answer to their prayers? This is one of the reasons that particular needs have remained unmet in the lives of some people. They’re selfish and stingy. They think others exist to meet their own needs and they will not allow God to use them to meet the needs of others whose needs they’re capable of meeting.
Another excuse is inconvenience resulting in procrastination. Sowing seeds is not always convenient. But it doesn’t have to be convenient for you before you sow. Go ahead and sow because of the harvest you desire. The farmer does not sow just because he loves to but because of the harvest he desires. Ps 126:5-6 says, “Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest” (NLT). Now is the perfect time for you to sow; don’t postpone it. Hear Eccl 11:4-6: “He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap… In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good” (NKJV). If you postpone sowing, you may never sow, and you also postpone your blessing.
What is a Seed?
A seed is not the same as money but includes money. You don’t have to give money before you sow. Seed is anything that God has given you that you can give directly to God or God’s causes on earth or to another person to meet his or her needs or to bless the person. It may be your time spent in prayer for someone or time spent to render assistance to some or material thing or money given to the needy, a neighbor, a church or a minister of God. Give whatever you give cheerfully and generously (2 Cor 9:6-8).
Sow according to your needs
If your need is money, sow money. If your need is help to fulfill your life assignment, help someone to fulfill his. If your need is someone to encourage you, go find someone to encourage, If your need is someone to be praying for, start praying for somebody. Whatever you make happen for somebody, God will make happen for you. Whatever your need is, sow a similar thing to another person or towards a godly cause and you will get a harvest similar to what you have sown.
The Bible says every tree will yield fruit according to its kind. “Then God said, ‘Let the land burst forth with every sort of grass and seed-bearing plant. And let there be trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. The seeds will then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came.’ And so it was” (Gen 1:10-11, NLT). Please take note of that statement: “The seeds will then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came.” The seed you sow will also produce after the kind it came from. This is the principle of God. So sow seed according to the kind of harvest you want.
Sow your seeds deliberately. Sow your seeds cheerfully. Sow your seeds regularly or continuously. Sow your seeds bountifully or generously. Sow your seeds into good soil. And like a good farmer, take care of your sowing with prayers and confession of the promises of God to give you harvest.
5. Expect your miracle harvest from God. God will always work with what we give Him. Your seed may leave your hand but it will never leave your life. It will always come back to you as harvests. And notice that the harvest is always more than the seed you sow. I like the way Jesus said it. In John 12:24, he said, “The truth is, a kernel of wheat must be planted in the soil. Unless it dies it will be alone — a single seed. But its death will produce many new kernels — a plentiful harvest of new lives” (NLT). Expect your plentiful harvest! God doesn’t need your seed; it is only because He wants to bless you and meet your needs.
Those who are stingy only cheat themselves; those who are in need but are generous will have their needs supernaturally met just as they’ve met the needs of others. See another Bible translation of Prov 11:24-25: “It is possible to give freely and become morewealthy, but those who are stingy will lose everything. The generous prosper and are satisfied; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed” (NLT).
The widow of Zarephath got it right when she gave to Prophet Elijah in her greatest hour of need. In fact, she gave first to the prophet before she took care of herself and her son. Because of this act of obedient generosity, she never lacked throughout the three and a half years of the famine. “So she said, ‘As the LORD your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.’ And Elijah said to her, ‘Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. For thus says the LORD God of Israel: The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the LORD sends rain on the earth.’ So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the LORD which He spoke by Elijah” (1 Kings 17:12-16, NKJV).
Conclusion: Needs are real and they exist to be met. Some of them can only be met through seed sowing. Sowers are reapers. Don’t be deceived by your income or your personal resources. In fact, one major reason for work is to be able to have what to give to the needy. “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need” (Eph 4:28, NKJV). Be a sower not a beggar! Be a sower not a daydreamer or wishful thinker!
If you’re not born again, you need to make yourself ready for eternity. I urge you to take the following steps:*Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bible -teaching church. There you will be taught how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: “0 Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent and confess my sins. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you Jesus for saving me and making me a child of God.”
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible believing, Bible teaching church in your area where you will be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I’ll be glad to hear from you. May the Lord be with you.
T.O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523