Is there a difference between 100 times and 100 times?
Have you ever wondered about the parable of the sower in Matthew 13? Jesus said that a sower went out to sow and some fell here and some fell there; we are talking about hard land and shallow land and land full of weeds. Then He mentioned the good land. When the seed was planted in the good soil, it produced, some threefold, some sixtyfold, and some a hundredfold.
This can be a pretty good return on your seed if it multiplies back to thirty, sixty, or a hundred times. Well, the same principle applies to your money… if your money was a seed and you planted it in good soil, it would bring you a return of thirty, sixty, or a hundred times. Fantastic…put in a penny, get a dollar back, or a dollar and get a hundred dollars…that’s the kind of investing I like to do. The problem with this is not what folding means. Let’s do a little experiment: take a sheet of notebook, now fold it in half from top to bottom; open it up and count… from where the crease is to the top is one and the crease to the bottom is two… do you agree?
Okay, fold it back; now fold it again from one side to the other; open it back up and count that there should be four divisions. Ok, you get the idea. You have now folded the paper twice and have four divisions; fold it another twenty-eight times and count them…and that will give you thirty times. If you actually try to fold the paper thirty times, you will find that it is impossible. You found that about seven or maybe eight times you can fold a piece of paper unless you flatten it with your car and then you might get another fold or two. So the “fold” calculation won’t be done by folding a physical piece of paper, so let’s try to piece it together. If you notice that when you folded the paper, it doubled in number with each fold, or in other words it got one hundred percent more complicated with each fold, so the math is pretty simple. Start with one return and you’ll get two.
A double return gives you four; three times gives you eight; then sixteen, thirty-two, sixty-four, one hundred and twenty-eight, two hundred and fifty-six, which is only eight times. Sounds impossible…then it must be God’s principle. I couldn’t stand not knowing what the real numbers would be, so I set about crunching some numbers; with just thirty times you get the colossal 1,073,701,824 (that’s one billion seventy three million seven hundred one thousand eight hundred twenty four). Listen, we’re talking about nine zeros here; this is phenomenal. Care to guess how many times sixty would be?
After all, it’s only thirtyfold again. If you guessed 2,147,403,648, you are absolutely wrong. That’s right…wrong, wrong, wrong. Sixty times is 1,151,973,021,073,889,216 (one quintillion one hundred fifty-one quadrillion nine hundred seventy-three trillion twenty-one billion seventy-three million eight hundred eighty-nine thousand two hundred sixteen), which is just over two times thirty. How good is God…eighteen zeroes! And that’s only sixtyfold. Guess what, keep laughing…if you’re like me, I didn’t know these numbers existed. I can say them now, but I still can’t wrap my head around them…okay there you go…a hundred times is 1,201,064,595,207,167,685,882,431,343,616 (one nonillion, two hundred and one octillion, sixty four septillion, five hundred ninety five sextillion, two hundred and seven quintillion , one hundred sixty-seven quadrillion, six hundred eighty-five trillion, eight hundred eighty-two billion, four hundred thirty-one million, three hundred forty-three thousand, six hundred sixteen). Wow, read this and impress your friends or let them look at you like you’re crazy like mine look at me.
Hey, I don’t care what people think of me, I care what God thinks of me. Anyway, those numbers are based on one seed planted, or one penny, or one dollar, or maybe a hug or a kiss. The principle behind the fold is increase, which is God’s purpose, contrary to popular belief. (A quick side note here…so far everything has been seen as positive, but if you plant a negative seed in negative soil, it produces negative results. Ever wonder why things just don’t seem your way?) What if instead by giving a dollar, he gave you a hundred or a thousand. If you got a hundredfold return and want to know how much that would be, just multiply 100 x 1,201,064,595,207,167,685,882,431,343,616 = 10,106,459,520,716,768,588,243,134,361,600. I know the question is about to drive you crazy, so I’m going to ask it and try to answer… why don’t I see this kind of return when I give?
Honestly, the answer to this question is difficult. If you go back to the parable in Matthew 13, you will see that some seeds fell on the path and did not return, some fell on stony ground and produced nothing, and some fell in the weeds and produced nothing; only that which fell on good ground produced something, but even then not all the seeds produced a hundredfold. One thing to note is that your seed must be planted in good soil to produce anything, period. I truly believe that the better the soil, the bigger the harvest. God alone knows why the returns are what they will be and I believe it has something to do with the intent of your heart in your giving.
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