Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. - Galatians 6:7-9
God has established some natural principles in His universe that are unchanging. That is, there are certain things that happen with consistency. When Sir Isaac Newton observed an apple falling from a tree, for example, he came to realize that an apple never fell upwards, but was always being pulled downward. Thus the law of gravity was recognized. Due to gravitational pull we have heard it stated many times: "what goes up must come down." The huge Space Shuttle booster rockets exert great power to break the law of gravity. Yet, even satellites orbiting the earth eventually are pulled out of orbit and burn up while "coming down" in reentry.
God has written natural laws into His creation such as the "Laws of Gravity". One can attempt to debate and defy this natural law, but it still remains a certainty that if a person jumps from an airplane without a parachute, he quickly learns about the "Laws of Gravity."
Just as there are natural laws that govern the universe, there are also moral and spiritual laws which God has established to govern our lives. If we choose to ignore these laws we will bring about our own ruin. However, if we live our lives according to these laws and obey God's counsel, we will be guaranteed a full, rich, and abundant life. The Apostle Paul states one such law as recorded in Galatians 6:7, "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." This law is known as the "Law of the Harvest".
Anyone who has ever planted anything knows that this law holds true. My father used to love planting his own garden and growing his own food supply. There was never a time when I saw my father plant corn and reap tomatoes. He could not because it was impossible to do so. He sowed corn seeds, and so the only thing that he could possibly reap was corn. The "Law of the Harvest" simply states that what a person sows, that he will also reap.
We comprehend this law as it applies to trees and crops, but we often find it difficult to understand as it applies to our lives. At times when everything seems to be falling apart all around us, why does it become so difficult to realize that we may be reaping exactly what we have sown? In fact, it is often at these times that people become bitter and angry towards God as if it is His entire fault when He has clearly established a moral and spiritual law that states that we will reap that which we have sown.
In the Bible, sowing sometimes refers to the sending forth of the Gospel. The parable of the sower as taught by the Savior in Mark chapter 4, verses 1 through 9, is a good example of that usage:
1 And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land.
2 And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,
3 Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:
4 And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.
5 And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:
6 But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.
7And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.
8 And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.
9And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
In verses 14 through 20 of that same chapter, the Savior interprets the parable for His disciples:
14 The sower soweth the word.
15And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.
16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;
17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the wordâ€™s sake, immediately they are offended.
18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,
19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
20 And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.
In Galatians 6:7, sowing to the Spirit is contrasted against sowing to the flesh, and has to do with the use of God-given resources. This is also how the word â€śsowâ€ť is used in 2 Corinthians 9:6, â€śBut this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.â€ť However, the principle has general application in life itself as seen in the following verses:
Job 4:8 â€“ â€śEven as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.
Proverbs 11:18 â€“ â€śThe wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward.
Hosea 8:7 â€“ â€śFor they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.â€ť
The lesson that we learn from these verses is that if we sow in the flesh, then we will reap according to the flesh, but if we sow in the Spirit, then we will reap spiritual blessings.
When my father planted his corn seeds in April, he expected to see a harvest of corn in June which is the normal process and something that he could easily predict and count on. However, there is no normal time-scheme for reaping what we sow in life. We are on God's timetable. Sooner or later the harvest does come. And as God will not be mocked, it is of a certainty that what we will reap in the harvest is exactly what we have sown.
Each of us is sowing every day of our lives. The question before us is, â€śTo what end are we sowing?" Are we sowing to the flesh, and that which we want? Or, are we sowing to the Spirit, the will of God, and His purpose for our lives? That is a very important question and it is imperative that we understand how and what we are sowing, because the harvest will come in due season.
The one who sows to the flesh ends up with nothing. You simply cannot take it with you when you die! However, the one who sows to the Spirit reaps eternal life. Sowing to the Spirit is investing our resources in those things which are spiritual and thus eternal. This investment is achieved through the Spirit and not through the flesh. To sow to the Spirit is the same as to walk by the Spirit (Galatians 5:18). It is the same as abiding in Christ and in His Word (John 15:7). It is the same as walking in Christ (Colossians 2:6) and setting one's "mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth" (Colossians 3:2). God has bound Himself to provide us with abundance so long as we will live His law in righteousness and labor for that blessing.
Every one of us today is reaping what we sowed years ago, for good or bad. We can't change that. But it would be good for all of us to spend a little time thinking about what we want to reap five years from now. What is it worth for us, or our spouse, or our kids, or our family or our friends, to be able to reap that which is eternal? What do we want to reap five years, ten years, or twenty years from now? With that thought in mind, we need to give some serious thought about what we are sowing today.
I leave these thoughts with you humbly in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Amen