God so loved the world, that He gave His only son. (John 3:16)
God loved. So He gave.
We need to love, before we give.
Think of a farmer.
He works the soil. He plants a seed. He waters it. He prunes it. He picks weeds. All in all, he is nurturing, or LOVING that plant.
The result is yes, indeed, a harvest. But it would not have produced such an abundant crop if he had not LOVED it first through his dedication and actions. He gave his time and efforts.
Another farmer could have planted a seed too, but without nurturing care (love, water/weed wacking, etc) he would not have received the same results.
What is interesting about these stories is that if you are the farmer you may not really see the dedication and love you showed unless you look back. While the first farmer was working he wasn't thinking "oh, I'm doing a great job!" No, he was simply doing what was right and expected of him. Because he did honest, Godly work, his work prospered.
This principle applies today just as it did then.
In fact, this same thing happened to me when I was working in the corporate world (not for my husband as I am now-ha ha). There is an opportunity in the business world (as with probably most professions) for dishonest work ethics. In my business it was actually very prevalent for employees to do the wrong thing instead of the right thing just to make their numbers look good and thus make them a stronger candidate for promotions. I did not believe in this and at every copportunity, I would chastise and correct every employee who I found who was behaving dishonestly.
Over the course of time-even though I wasn't padding my numbers(cheating)- my numbers put my office in first place for net profit. This "gold star" benefited me when I applied for a new position. Which I got.
Now, the cool thing about this new position was that it set me up for more pay, less hours, and less stress (which was great because by now I was a new parent!)
What I'm trying to show you is that while you are putting your 'hand to the plow' like a farmer-if you do your work with honesty and integrity (love)-God's light will shine through you and you will be rewarded. I was rewarded with less hours and stress, and more money. Even in the workplace we can do God's work, not just in the pulpit.
You see, I was LOVING God by working in a Godly way. I was giving what was right to my job and not cheating my company or my customers. My employers saw the results (which by the way were blessed by God since I wasn't cheating) which then resulted in a promotion. I know that promotion was from God. The hours and pay I received just don't match up to what is 'standard' for that position across the nation in that company. I give HIM all the glory and praise for that career turn. HE gave me the opportunity to lessen my hours and stress at work (which was VERY important to me). The increased pay was a nice bonus, but it was ALL for the Kingdom. You see, I LOVE to GIVE. God knows that. He knows He can trust me to give, what He gives me. So by remaining Godly in my work ethic (instead of doing what everyone else was doing---its not ok to cheat, even if everyone else is), I was blessed with a promotion that resulted in something great for me(less hours and stress), and something great for the kingdom (more money to sow into the kingdom). Remember, "those who are faithful with little, will be given much".
Through your walk with God, your integrity will be tested. It may be at work, it may be at school, it may be in a relationship. Stand firm in all areas against temptation and dishonesty. Your love for God will be that light shining in the world for all to see. God will make sure you are rewarded for your love!