Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Throwing and Reaping

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. 
Gal 6:7-10
The boomerang, often associated with Australia, is a flat, curved, usually wooden missile configured so that when hurled it returns to the thrower. Ironically, the word can also refer to a statement or a course of action that backfires, a miscalculation that bounces back and recoils on its maker. Yet, even when a person's actions bring the opposite result of what he or she intended, there is still a cause-and-effect relationship involved.
So we'd better be very careful what we throw! Or maybe I should say, "what we sow." Before we know what to sow, we must choose what to grow. The Bible calls this the law of sowing and reaping.
There are so many biblical examples. Think of Adam and Eve, or Cain. Consider Jacob and Laban. Moses. The spies. King David. Simon Peter. Every character in Scripture chose either good or evil and reaped the results. Of course, you and I can look at our own lives and recognize this principle at work. We are already dealing with the consequences of our past choices and behaviors.
Don't plant Johnson grass, even in your enemy's yard!
John Gibson once told about a farmer who posted a "No Trespassing" sign because of some boys who kept crossing his property. Outraged and embittered, one boy vowed that he would get even. One night he stole into the farm with a stack of Johnson grass seed and sowed it generously in every field. (Johnson grass spreads rapidly and is virtually impossible to destroy.) A few years later this same boy married the farmer's only daughter. In a short time the old man died, and the boy inherited the farm. He spent the rest of his life fighting Johnson grass.
You and I will, without a doubt ...
Reap exactly what we sow (in kind). Gal 6:7-10
Reap (much) later than we sow. Mark 4:28
Reap much more than we sow. Matt 13:23
Reap in proportion to what we sow. 2 Cor 9:6
You are much more likely to be satisfied with the final crop if you ...
Keep sowing good seed, no matter what.
This one principle has helped me, as much or more than any other, to deal with hurtful, critical people who might otherwise discourage me. No matter what others do, keep planting what is positive, healthy, and uplifting. When life does not seem fair, when others mistreat you, when you are under stress or dealing with difficult people or circumstances, what can you do? Keep sowing good seed. Don’t get mad; get sowing! Don’t pity yourself, gossip to others, or seek revenge. Find a field. Do something good. Watch it grow.
Turn the other cheek; go the second mile; love when hated.
No matter what you sowed yesterday, plant something healthy today. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Do not plant bitterness, cynicism, or unbelief. Instead, choose the crop you want to harvest one day, and sow that seed.
Hos 10:12 Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.
Sow and water in partnership with others.
Get other strong Christians to work beside you in everything good you seek to do. We need each other! Ask elders, deacons, preachers, and teachers to help you get out the weeds and plant what is holy. Rejoice when others reap well; weep when they reap poorly.
Don’t worry about the harvest. Leave it to God.
Do what He wants you to do just for today, and let Him take care of tomorrow.
Have you ever seen the little plaque that reads, “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last?” Well, that’s not what the poet wrote. The poet wrote this: “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last. And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be, if the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee.”
Raise your children to adulthood the best you can, with God’s help. 
Then do not be afraid to send them out. In most cases you will reap – and so will they – what you have sown in their lives. Prov 22:6
Young people, you are reaping your parents’ training, teaching, and preparation. Be grateful for that. Realize too, however, that now is the time for you to sow. Choose what you want to reap – a faithful walk with the Lord and a home in heaven – and plant accordingly.
Don’t worry about what other people will harvest. 
They too will reap as they have sown, whether good or evil.
Ps 37:1-3 Do not fret because of evildoers, Be not envious toward wrongdoers. For they will wither quickly like the grass, And fade like the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
The more energy we focus on other people’s harvest, the less we invest in our own.
Prov 24:17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, 18 lest the Lord see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him. 19 Fret not yourself because of evildoers, and be not envious of the wicked, 20 for the evil man has no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out.
Rom 12:17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
See everything you have as a seed. Then use it!
Consider your money and material things, your possessions, work, family, time, and skills. Ask: “How can I plant this, spread this, and share this, so that God can take hold of it and do something with it?”
Read 2 Cor 6:9-15 and live by its principles.
Sow the message of Christ among those who need to become New Testament Christians.
See your environment – neighborhood, workplace, etc. – as a field in which God has placed you.
1 Cor 3:9 For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.
Prepare to reap at the final harvest.
We are saved by grace, not by merit. Yet our deeds are the proof of our faith, the fruit of our connection to Christ. We may not always expect to reap in this life. We learn from the faith heroes in Heb 11 to see a harvest waiting for us on the other side.
Keep your eyes on Jesus.
He knows where to go, how to sow, and what to grow. He is the way, the truth, and the life. Remember what He said:
John 4:35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

An unknown author wrote,

* If you plant honesty, you will reap trust.
* If you plant goodness, you will reap friends.
* If you plant humility, you will reap greatness.
* If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment.
* If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective.
* If you plant hard work, you will reap success.
* If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation.
To comment and/or to receive notices of future blog posts, please email confident.faith[AT]gmail[.com]. God bless.

Cory Collins