SOWING AND REAPING
“The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”
There are two basic natural principles that deal with sowing and reaping / planting and harvesting: First, what one sows and what one reaps are always the same. It is unreasonable to expect that you can plant beets and have roses grow from the seeds. In the same way, apple seeds are going to grow a tree that will produce apples not bananas. Second, the amount one plants and the amount one harvests are related. As 2 Cor. 9:6 (NLT) says: “A farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. Of course even in nature there may be mitigating circumstances; if there is no rain there won’t be much of a crop no matter how much is planted. On the other hand, good weather, diligent cultivation, and appropriate addition of nutrients to the soil can increase the size of the harvest to some degree. Still, there is a relationship between the amount planted and the amount harvested.
Those are natural laws that apply directly to the field or garden. Of course those principles can be appropriately applied to all of life. They are true in business. They are true in our households. They apply in the classroom. And they are true in our spiritual lives. The more you put in the more you get out.
But wait a moment. In the same way that rain and fertilizer affect the size of a harvest there are spiritual things that affect our natural lives. In Haggai we read these words: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it” (1:5b-6). God, who is supernatural, faithfully blesses the righteous but the disobedient should expect no such blessing. Jeremiah spoke of the same thing but related it to the other principle saying: “They will sow wheat but reap thorns; they will wear themselves out but gain nothing” (Jer. 12:13). On the positive side, we know that God can take little and, with the addition of His grace and our faith, cause it to produce much – consider what Jesus did with only five loaves and two fish! Furthermore, He can take our sorrow and, through His mercy and power, turn it into dancing. The psalmist wrote: “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy” (Psalm 126:5). Paul adds: “The one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (Gal. 6:8).
Here is what I believe we should take away from this study: in the natural we can hope to produce only within the limitations of our own limited resources. But with God’s help the potential for growth is unlimited. We may sow the smallest of seeds, but He can cause it to become the largest of plants (Matt. 13:32). We may think that what we have to offer has little value but, in His hands, it can glorify His name and have eternal value. I will end this with a word of encouragement from Hosea: “Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you” (10:12).
--- Pastor Keith Andrews