In researching this on Google I found several links where this expression is used by those who promote the “prosperity gospel.” The main idea is that if you give an offering of money to God that really costs you something, you are offering a “sacrificial seed” that will yield great returns. There are “prosperity preachers” who ask you to give so much money to their ministry and in return God will multiply it. For example, they may ask for $25 and they tell you to trust God to give you much more in return. They use scripture to justify this and as we shall see these scriptures have nothing to do with “giving money as a sacrificial seed and receiving large returns for doing so.”

One such passage is Mark 4:3-8, “Listen, Behold, a sower went out to sow…. Some seed fell by the wayside…some fell on stony ground…some fell among thorns…but other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundredfold.” Prosperity preachers teach that the “seed sown on good ground” refers to a believer “giving money sacrificially to God and then being rewarded with 30, 60, or 100 times more.” This is a classic example of taking Scripture out of context, for in its context the “SEED that is sown” in this passage is NOT MONEY, but THE GOSPEL! It speaks of “sowing the word of the gospel in the hearts of unsaved sinners” and thus verse 8 teaches us that if the gospel is sown in the heart of someone who believes the gospel (i.e. good ground) they will be saved and “bear fruit for God in their lives” which is evidence that they are truly saved (see Ephesians 2:8-10 and James 2:14-26). The amount of “fruit” may vary in believers, but in each case, it is the “fruit of salvation.”

Another passage they use is Matthew 17:18-20, “And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’ so Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have FAITH AS A MUSTARD SEED, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from there to there,’ and it will move; and nothing is impossible for you.” This too is a gross distortion of scripture, for the context here is speaking of “having faith to remove big obstacles and producing big results in our service to God.” It is NOT speaking of “giving a sacrificial seed offering of money to God and being blessed by a large return.” Praise the Lord for teaching us here that “though our faith be SMALL,” we can still “do BIG things for God” if we are doing His will.

There are other passages that are used to support this unscriptural teaching (see Mark 10:29-30 and Luke 6:37-38), but in each passage it is a case of misinterpreting the context to suit their view of “offering a sacrificial seed of money and receiving material gain.” I will close with a passage that speaks of a SACRIFICE, but it wasn’t a believer making the offering to God, but a pagan king making an offering to his so-called god. In 2nd Kings 3:20-25 the Moabites were being slaughtered by the Israelites and in verses 26-27 we read, “And when the king of Moab saw that the battle was too fierce for him, he took with him seven hundred men who drew swords, to break through to the king of Edom, but they could not. Then HE TOOK HIS ELDEST SON who would have reigned in his place, AND OFFERED HIM AS A BURNT OFFERING UPON THE WALL; and there was great indignation against Israel. So they departed from him and returned to their own land.” Listen to what one “prosperity preacher” had to say about this: “Hmm, the king of Moab SACRIFICED HIS HEIR to his god for his nation not to be slaves, HE GAVE HIS ALL!!! Can you believe that this act made him win technically even after God has said the King of Israel will overcome!!! This is incredible, it means there must be something about SACRIFICIAL GIVING, because the king of Moab was not of God but his offering technically stopped God and his people; maybe God was so amazed that a man could give such a sacrifice. As a God of principle even though the King of Moab was not of Him, He had to respect this act.” He goes on to say, “Have you ever wondered why after doing all you know to do you still do not have a job…gotten the financial stability…that promotion…that house? It may be because you have not GIVEN A SACRIFICIAL SEED; so that, give what costs you a lot and sow it into the ministry where you get regular nourishment and share your testimony with me!!!” Dear friend, I will let you judge, by the context, the absurdity of this interpretation.  (DO)  (544.3)