Today I want to give thanks for the wonderful principle of sowing and reaping. We read about it in the Bible and sometimes it can taken and used as a warning and a way of judging someone, but it is also a guide to great blessing. One of Job’s comforters for example was quick to use it as a way of accusing him, pointing out “As I have observed, those who plow evil and sow trouble, reap it”. Job 4:8. Also in Proverbs 22:8 the wisdom given is that ‘He who sows wickedness reaps trouble’. This understanding of sowing and reaping can lead to the conclusion that if there is trouble in a persons life, they must have done something to deserve it. In Job’s case this was the mistake his comforters made, thinking his misfortune was a judgement from God
The good news is that we are living this side of the cross and so any punishment that we do deserve has fallen onto Jesus. We find ourselves reaping what we definitely don’t deserve; His love and goodness, His forgiveness, His kindness and His grace. So that anytime we feel blessed, or when something good has happened and we hear the enemy whisper in our ears “You don’t deserve this.” we can agree with him, but then tell him to go and have another look at the cross as far as his second statement is concerned.
This wonderful principle of sowing and reaping does still apply of course to the things that we do as christians, even though we are no longer under the judgement of God. Jesus warned us for example about judging other people. He said to the gathered crowd, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:1,2. It’s a spiritual principle and not just a material one, that what we release and distribute, what we ‘sow’ into the atmosphere around us will, in some mystical way, come back into our lives from the same, or frequently, some other source.
We can be thankful that this principle of sowing and reaping will keep us in check with regards to the negative things that we release towards others, and that, on the other hand, it can be a great encouragement to us to release blessing and good things to others. Jesus said, after His remarks about judgements “Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down and shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you”. Luke 6: 38. If that is how things are going to be given back to us, let us make sure that we are giving out good things, the kind of things that we would like heaped on us in return.
In nature we know that there is a multiplication in sowing and reaping, that is to say, one seed sown produces multiple flowers and fruit and therefore even more seeds. The ploughing up and sowing of a field therefore can lead to a great harvest. There is a multiplication process that God has miraculously put in nature that enables us to feed ourselves, and that multiplication process also applies to us spiritually. Paul caught on to this and wrote to his friends saying about their giving, ‘whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.’ 2 Corinthians 9:6.
So this principle not only reminds us to be sparing with our negatives towards each other, it also encourages us to be generous like our Heavenly Father who, we are told, ‘sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous’. Again in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus encourages us to have a lifestyle where we ‘live to give’, where we are always sowing good things into the world and the people around us, regardless of whether we think they are ‘worthy’ of our favour. Where we are doing more than just loving those who love us, but we are releasing the goodness of God through our lives into the world. Matthew 5:43-48.
This then gets exciting because we can sow kindness, goodness, and love absolutely anywhere and everywhere we go. We can spread the atmosphere of God’s kingdom regardless of where we are and who we are with. We can notice the tired or weary waitress or shop assistant, we can help a harassed mum load her shopping, we can lend an ear to a grumpy neighbour, give way to an angry motorist etc. By resisting the temptation to judge them in those moments and by sowing kindness we can change somone’s day, and plant some good seed that will bring a good return. Jesus said when he commissioned the twelve, “Freely have you received freely give” Matthew 10: 8. Let us freely give our blessings because we have been freely and undeservedly blessed, and we know that we will be blessed hundredfold again in the future,
Two words of caution here, sometimes our sowing is costly and seems to yield very little return, and lest we should get discouraged let us remember the promise in Psalm 126:5,6, ‘Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him’. Sometimes particularly in a difficult relationship sowing kindness or thoughtfulness seems just hard work and fruitless, but the Lord’s promise stands. Consider also James 1:18, ‘Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness’.
Secondly we need to be aware of the fact that the harvest from our sowing may come from a different field to the one in which we have been sowing, but the return will come. It may also come a lot later than we think it should, but let us thank God for this amazing principle and ‘Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers’. Galatians 6:9,10. And let us today scatter as much ‘good seed’ as we can.