My two oldest boys went to a football game with their grandparents on Friday night. It was a late game, out-of-town, in the freezing cold. They didn’t get home until 1:30 in the morning and had only a few hours before it would be time to deliver the morning paper. I decided to get up early and complete their routes to surprise them. And I had to beat my husband to it, because from past experience, I knew he was thinking the same thing.
So I snuck out of the house early—and a little unprepared. The weather was bad. Freezing rain. Icy wind. And of course I forgot to grab a hat. At first I thought it would be okay. But after a few minutes, my ears were wet and painfully cold. The wind lashing at my head intensified the pain. All I could think about was a fuzzy, warm, winter hat.
After much of the paper route was done, it suddenly hit me. I was wearing a hoodie sweatshirt! The whole time I had what I needed to keep my ears toasty and warm. I just wasn’t paying attention.
Quickly I pulled the hood over my head and tightened the string. And I began to wonder how often this sort of thing happens in my life. I fixate on something that I want or need without opening my eyes to see what I already have. It struck me that there is a very real connection between awareness, gratitude and the law of the harvest.
The law of the harvest requires that we must sow before we reap, and we WILL reap whatever we sow. We have to pay attention to what blessings we have right now, before we can receive any more blessings. In other words, we can’t ignore our sweatshirt hood and hope for a warm, fuzzy hat.
I am always talking to my kiddos about the law of the harvest. It is a bedrock principle that applies to every aspect of their lives. Scientists call it the law of cause and effect or Newton’s Third Law of action and reaction. Eastern spiritualists call it Karma. Christians call it bread upon the waters. No matter what it is called, the principle is the same.
Here are some things to consider:
1. What we send out, comes back
From scientific observation and from scripture study, we learn that whatever “you send out shall return to you again” (Alma 41:15). If we are critical of others, we will eventually reap criticism. If we are kind to others, we will eventually reap kindness. God will even judge us based on the standard of judgement we set.
We cannot receive from life anything that we do not first give to life. We cannot pick a tomato unless we first plant the right kind of seed. We cannot feel love until we have given what love we have inside us away.
This absolutely applies to thanksgiving. When we sow gratitude, we will reap gratitude. Or in other words, when we recognize and enjoy our blessings, by and by we will receive more to gladden our heart.
2. What we send out, comes back multiplied
For better or for worse, we always reap more bountifully than we have sowed. I am not a great gardener, but I can sometimes grow tomatoes. Think of the tiny seed that produces a tomato plant. And then think of the dozens of tomatoes that can grow on one plant. Imagine the literally hundreds of seeds within each tomato. One seed planted in the ground, returns both fruit and hundreds of new seeds.
We can never get ahead. We can never even break even. As King Benjamin taught, God blesses us so abundantly for our efforts, that we will forever be indebted unto him.
3. Use it or lose it
In the Savior’s parable of the talents, he taught us to use what we already have. If we don’t use it, we lose it. But when we use it fully, we are blessed with more.
If we want stronger muscles we must lift the heaviest weights our current muscles can handle. Until we put our strength to the test we will not receive greater strength. This is true with everything we want to have and accomplish. We must fully use what we already have before more will be given. And just like my sweatshirt hood, in order to fully use what we have, we must be aware of it.
I am in no way saying that we should avoid creating a grand vision for our lives. But rather, in addition to envisioning our perfect lives, we need to keep our eyes wide open now. There is so much we already have for which to be thankful. And until we recognize it and allow it to “please [our] eye and gladden [our] heart,” we won’t be ready to receive the greater blessings that are surely available.
Let’s not wait until we have a stylish winter hat to warm our ears. While life has it’s challenges, we have been given all we really need to be happy. And, like the lilies of the field, God has promised to continue providing for our real needs. It is up to us to fully use and enjoy what we have, so that through this exciting process of the harvest, we can watch our blessings multiply and our life’s vision unfold.
sowing seeds of thanksgiving