Return on the Investment of Intention

… what a person plants, he or she will harvest. 1

I am encouraged with the farm-to-table movement in the United States. The side benefit is that as a new generation studies the source of the food on their table they become interested in things like seeds. Heirloom or hybrid, instead of thinking that fruit comes from the grocery story a whole generation knows that an apple grows on a tree and that there are many varieties of apple trees.

The simple knowledge that apple seeds, when planted in good ground, grow apple trees and good apple trees produce apples give this law meaning: what a person plants, he or she will harvest.

Intention is the Seed, Not the Act Itself

The seed that I plant is what I do and the tree and the apple that I harvest is what I get in return. What about those who give and give and get frustrated in the lack or quality of their harvest? Test your intention. Intention is the seed, not the act itself. The harvest is based on the the quality and quantify of your intention.

I Was, After All, Giving to the Homeless

Consider the story of when I would walk once a week or so from my office to a Bible study downtown. Often, I would pass homeless people on the walk. I kept a few dollars folded separate from everything else in my pocket so that I could easily give it as I felt lead to to so. As each person asked, I would pause and consult my conscience.2 As I felt led, I would give.

One day, I was compelled to start saying “in Jesus name” each time I gave. “O.K.,” I thought. “How hard could that be.” So, when the opportunity came, I opened my mouth to speak  —  and stuttered something even I didn’t understand. Giving “in Jesus name” turned out to be a lot harder than I expected.

The Nature of the Seed

When I give, if my intention is to look good to others or to be a good person, then that is what I harvest. So, when the harvest comes others see me as good in their estimation or worse, I see myself as good in my estimation. The intention of my planted seed is harvested.

Neither result is a good return on the investment. The Christian disciple seeks for “Christ to be magnified in our bodies whether by life or by death.”3

Checking my Intention

Perhaps that what David meant when he prayed, “search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.”4

Maybe David knew that there were places where his intentions were not right. Maybe David suspected that there were places where his true intentions were hidden, even from himself.

Challenge

There are several tools Christian disciples can use to check our intention. Here is a simple one. After you resolve to do something, add the phrase, “in Jesus name.” If adding this phrase is difficult or makes you uncomfortable, it may be time to ask, “what is my true intention?”5

### Brandon L. Blankenship

 

 

 

  1. Galatians 6:7, The Message, gender modified.
  2. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
  3. Philippians 1:19-20.
  4. Psalm 139:23.
  5. Image Credit: Return on Investment, Simon Cunningham CC flickr 1JAN2014 LendingMemo.com, ©2015 Brandon L. Blankenship Attorney Lawyer

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