Sowing and Reaping

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The Law of Sowing and Reaping 
by Don Rousu

In the Book of Genesis, which means the book of "beginnings", we find the expression of a seed principle that runs throughout the scriptures, and a principle that will endure as long as earth. Chapter 8, verse 22 reads, "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease." In other words, seedtime and harvest, that is "sowing and reaping", will be as unchangeable and predictable as day and night.

Sowing and reaping is a law, like the law of gravity. The law of gravity always works the same way for everyone. So does the law of sowing and reaping. It's a fixed principle that God built into his creation. In Galatians 6:7, we are told, "Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap."

Essentially, this means that every action has a predictable consequence. If I sow corn, I'll get corn, not potatoes. If I sow radishes, I'll get radishes, not squash. If I sow beans, I'll get beans, not watermelons. It also works the same way in the spiritual realm. If I sow (give away) life to others, I will reap life myself. If I sow provision for others, I will reap provision for myself. If I sow forgiveness toward others, I'll reap forgiveness for myself.

In Luke 6:38, Jesus assured us that we could count on it. The law of sowing and reaping always works, and it always works the same way for everyone. If you sow bad things, you reap bad things. So He starts off in verse 37 with a warning: "Do not judge!" Guess what happens if you do? You guessed it - you'll reap judgment. But if you refrain from judgment and condemnation, you'll escape reaping it from others. And then he goes on to apply this law of sowing and reaping to our giving of material goods: "Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

This addresses a very human fear, namely, that if I give anything away, I won't have anything left for myself. Jesus says that just the opposite is true. Give the very thing you need, and you will get more. Not only will you have enough for yourself, but the more you give, the more you'll be given. The bigger the sowing, the bigger the reaping.

Any farmer knows that. If you want a small crop, you sow just a little seed. If you want a big crop, you sow a lot of seed. And Paul expands on that principle in II Corinthians 9, where he has been encouraging the people of Corinth to give generously to the believers in Jerusalem who were going through a famine and needed help. He says, in verse 6 of that chapter that "Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously."

In Galatians 6:7, Paul says something very interesting about sowing and reaping. He begins by saying, "Do not be deceived." The reason he says that is because so many people are deceived about sowing and reaping. And then he assures us that we will reap whatever we sow. So what's the big deception? It has to do with a lapse in time between the sowing and the reaping. For example, some people sow the sinful deeds of death and then, because they don't see the immediate consequences, they come to the conclusion that they got away with something. But sooner or later, the law of sowing and reaping will work, because it always works the same way for everyone. Sowing the sinful deeds of death will eventually and inevitably bring a reaping of death and destruction. Violent people reap violence. Unfaithful people reap unfaithfulness. Bitter people reap bitterness. Selfish people reap selfishness. It's a law, like gravity.

But the deception also works on the other side, with sowing good seed, righteous seed, the seed of generosity and good works. How so? We can sometimes be deceived into thinking that, just because we don't see immediate results, that the law of sowing and reaping doesn't work. God promised that if I would give, it would be given to me. But there may be a significant lapse of time between the sowing and the reaping. In nature, if you sow rabbit seed, it takes about 31 days to reap a crop of rabbits. If you sow elephant seed, it takes about 22 months to reap a baby elephant. But sooner or later, you always reap exactly what you sow! And Paul offers these encouraging words to people who spend their lives sowing love, kindness, and generous provision, verse 9: "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

God always invites us to trust Him, and to believe that His only desire is to bless us. He invites us to invest heavily in the things of the Kingdom, and expect that we will, in the end, reap an abundant harvest of righteousness. Some of it will come back to us very quickly. And some of it will come back to us more slowly, but just when we need it.

What we need to understand is that God's invitation to give generously is an invitation to invest in His purposes. And when we invest in the purposes of God, He always pays us back with interest. Let me demonstrate from God's creation. When you put one grain of wheat into the ground, how many grains do you get back? Well try it. Pick the stock of wheat that grows from that one grain and count the number of grains in that one head of wheat. Let's say you got twenty back. So what percentage of interest did you gain on your investment? If you're slow at math, it's a 2,000 percent interest on your investment. When's the last time you earned that kind of interest by leaving you money in a personal saving account in your local bank?

God invites you and me to invest in an unseen kingdom and trust that the reward on our investment will go beyond our wildest dreams. "Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, flowing over will be poured into your lap!" The real key, though, is asking God where he wants us to sow, and then obeying his voice. He's full of "hot tips!" He knows where the growth potential is!  So when you hear the Lord,  be wise and sow generously, because the more you sow, the more you'll reap - and that's a promise!

Don Rousu and his wife Ruth pastor Harvest Vineyard in Edmonton.