Einstein was wrong.
It’s a rare day when I get to point out that Einstein was wrong about something, but here we go.
Einstein is often quoted as saying:
“The power of compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe.”Albert Einstein
And he wasn’t just wrong with the obvious rebuttal that God is the most powerful force, but was actually wrong about a law God Himself set in motion.
While compound interest is an amazingly powerful invention of man that has profound implications on wealth-building, it still pales in comparison to God’s law of exponential growth. I would like to propose that the law of Seedtime and Harvest is far more powerful than compound interest could ever be.
“While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease”(Genesis 8:22, KJV)
In this verse we see that this principle is a force that has existed as long as the earth has been around—just as constant as temperature changes, seasons, and the sun rising in the morning.
It is unfortunate that this idea only seems to come up in some churches when they are running a fundraising campaign, because there is so much more depth to this principle.
There is a lot to explore here, but for now I just want to look at a quick illustration of how powerful this concept can actually be.
The Power of Compound Interest
Let’s see what we can do with one dollar.
Let’s say you could consistently earn a very generous 15% on a particular investment. At that rate, assuming you reinvested the earnings, you would be able to double your money in about 5 years thanks to the power of compound interest.
So what this means is if you invested $1 and consistently earned a 15% return for the next 40 years with no additional investment, you would be sitting on about $388.
Now if you took that $388 and spent it all on apples—yes apples—you would have a little less than 1,000 apples.
That is a lot of apples from one dollar!
- $1 invested
- 15% consistent rate of return compounded
- 40 years
- Yields $388 or about 1,000 apples
The Power of God’s Law of Seedtime and Harvest
Now let’s look at God’s remarkable system of exponential growth.
Let’s say you take another $1 and go to the market and buy the biggest apple you can find. Go ahead and eat it and let’s see what we can do with the seeds inside.
Imagine taking that one single apple and planting every single seed (let’s say 5 per apple). It will take about 7 years before each one of those seeds becomes a tree and bears fruit, but on average all 5 of those trees will bear 4 bushels of apples in that year (source).
One bushel typically contains about 125 apples (source). So in this example that first harvest would be about 2,500 apples (5 trees with 4 bushels containing 125 apples each).
If you then take all those apples just from that one year and plant all the seeds, you will have 12,500 apple trees (2,500 apples containing 5 seeds each) and in 7 more years those 12,500 trees will be bearing 500 apples each for a total of 6,250,000 apples per year.
Let’s say you planted the seeds from those 6,250,000 apples. Now you are looking at 31.25 million trees that in another 7 years will be producing over 15 billion apples each year.
Now for fun let’s just go one last step. If you planted those seeds from the 15 billion+ trees, you now have more than 75 billion apple trees.
This is enough for every human being on earth to have their own orchard of about 10 apple trees yielding 5,000 apples a year.
If this wasn’t mind-blowing enough, did you know that a well taken care of apple tree can bear fruit for 100+ years? (source)
- $1 spent on an apple
- 28 years
- Yields 75 billion apple trees producing 5,000 apples for every human being on earth per year.
It quickly gets to the point of feeling overwhelming. This reminds me of Deuteronomy 28:2 (NASB), “All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the LORD your God.”
The illustration is simplified for brevity and surely there are many other factors that come into play, including germination rates, land availability, caring for the trees, pests and diseases, but I think you get the point, right?
Additionally, most of the figures used are actually conservative in their estimation.
When I see the power of the law set in motion with this illustration, I can’t help but first think of applying this idea literally to help alleviate hunger across the world.
Surely solving world hunger is an incredibly complex problem that many have devoted their lives to solving, but the point that needs to be made is that while it is a very complex problem, it is complex in spite of the simplicity of this principle and the potential that lies in a single seed.
But placing that to the side for a moment, God has given us this incredibly powerful principle of multiplication to tap into that I believe goes way beyond apple trees.
I believe this principle is available to us in
- the spreading of the gospel
- in generosity (2 Cor 9:6)
- even in the seemingly insignificant actions of the day just like giving someone a compliment (as was illustrated in the movie Pay It Forward)
- and countless other areas I have yet to consider
Honestly, I feel like I am just scratching the surface of the power of this Seedtime principle, but I am excited to see what other ways we can tap into it for the advancement of His Kingdom.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas of areas of how and where this principle could apply.