Saturday, July 02, 2016

Sowing and reaping

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Galatians 6:1-18

TO CHEW ON: "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life." Galatians 6:7-8

If you have ever planted a garden, you will be familiar with the principles of sowing and reaping—principles which, throughout the Bible, also illustrate truisms about living life wisely and well. What are these principles? I can think of three (there may be more):

1. The crop we harvest will have the same nature as the seed we plant. If we plant peas, we will harvest peas, not artichokes or carrots.

Relating this principle to how we live our lives, the writer of Hosea talks of a righteous life reaping God's rain of righteousness (Hosea 10:12). When we live (sow) in a way that panders to our fleshly appetites, we reap corruption, says Paul in our focus verse today. But when we live (sow) life under the direction of the Holy Spirit, we will harvest everlasting life (Galatians 6:8).

2. There is an interlude of time between planting and harvesting. Each seed we plant has its own germination and growth-to-maturity timetable.

In life, though the eventual harvest may take a long time (Ecclesiastes 11:1) and be preceded by multiple plantings, and accompanied by anguish (Psalm 126:6), harvest day will eventually come. Paul encourages the Galatians: "Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart" - Galatians 6:9.

A sidebar article in my Bible explains it well:
"God has a timetable for every seed we plant. His timetable is not always our timetable. Sometimes the 'due season' means a quick return. Sometimes it means a slow return that may take years -- even a lifetime" ("God has a Due Season for All the Seeds You Plant" by Oral Roberts from New Spirit Filled Life Bible p. 1639).

3. We will harvest more than we plant. Think of the multiplication we get from one pea, bean or corn seed!

Similarly in life, our actions have the potential to yield many-fold. Jesus' parable about the sower talks about an increase of thirty, sixty and a hundred-fold (Mark 4:8). Tithes brought into the storehouse are the seed for such blessing "there will not be room enough to receive it" - Malachi 3:10.

What and where are we planting today? No doubt some of our efforts are given to planting seeds of kindness, truth, encouragement, faith, hope and love in the lives of children, grandchildren, parents, friends, colleagues. If nothing seems to be coming of our efforts, let's not give up. Remember, a harvest takes time to grow and mature. Just make sure our "granaries" are big enough to hold the multiplication our sowing will eventually yield!

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for these principles of sowing and reaping from nature. Help me to gain patience and encouragement from them, especially as I look at the places I've sown seed but still see no results. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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