It is spring and we are on Daylight Savings Time. The days seem longer and flowers are starting to bloom. It’s time to decide how to landscape our yard, and I’m looking forward to remaking the yard. While thinking about this yesterday, I came upon two devotionals from Dr. Charles Stanley that made me think on what I am sowing in my life, because that is what I will reap later. It’s a good thing to ponder, because we aren’t called to just walk through life thoughtlessly, and certainly not selfishly. For we are not our own: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Cor. 6:19-20)
You probably read the story of Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:29-34) and thought, I can’t believe Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of soup. How foolish! But let’s think beyond birthrights and soup. Is there anything of true value that you are trading for something of lesser worth? In other words, what is your “bowl of soup”?
Have you pursued wealth and a career at the expense of family? Maybe your busy schedule has kept you from spending time with God in His Word each day. Some people become involved in extramarital affairs, trading the well-being of their family for the satisfaction of lustful desires. Others sacrifice their health by consuming harmful or addictive substances, or even by overindulging in food. The list of ways we make foolish, shortsighted choices is endless.
Some of the decisions we make today could rob us of the blessings God wants to give us. When you yield to temptation in a moment of weakness, you’re actually sacrificing your future for momentary pleasure. We can’t afford to live thoughtlessly, basing our decisions on immediate desires or feelings. Since the principle of sowing and reaping cannot be reversed, we need to carefully consider what we are planting. The harvest will come, and we’ll reap what we have sown–and more than we’ve sown.
Today is the father of tomorrow. What we are today is the result of what we have been thinking and the way we have lived in the past. Those who act wisely today will have wisdom in the future to make wise decisions. The same is true when we come to the subject of finances. Those who save wisely today will have plenty tomorrow. Those who spend everything they have today will have little or nothing in the future. It is a shortsighted person who thinks only of the now, doing as little as possible, for on payday he will have no way to avoid the poor quality and small quantity of his rewards. The nation of Israel had to learn this in a very personal way. Their waywardness and failure to do what God instructed them to do often placed them in a position where they would not have His blessings.
The Lord gives principles in Scripture to serve as warnings and as an encouragement. In Galatians 6:7, His Word states, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” Every farmer understands the meaning of this principle: We reap what we sow, more than we sow, and later than we sow. Let’s look at each part of the principle to make sure we understand its full implications.
1. The principle applies to everyone, both Christians and non-Christians, and is irrevocable; there is no escape, either for the believer or for the unbeliever. It is a law of life. Did you notice how Galatians 6:7 begins? It says, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked.” Herein lies the root cause of the careless and indulgent lifestyle of many people. They are deceived. They either do not believe the truth, or they think they will somehow be the exceptions to God’s laws.
To mock God is to turn up one’s nose at Him, to hope to outwit Him—a foolish thought, as 2 Corinthians 5:10 reveals: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” If you were required to appear before the judgment seat of Christ in the next five minutes, what kind of crops would you have to show?
2. We reap what we sow. The fact that we reap what we sow is good news for those who sow good habits, but a frightening thought for those currently involved in ungodly activities such as promiscuity, drug and alcohol abuse, neglect of family, or mistreatment of others in order to climb the ladder of success. We cannot sow crabgrass and expect to reap pineapples. We cannot sow disobedience to God and expect to reap His blessing. What we sow, we reap. Let us not deceive ourselves: We will reap the harvest of our lives.
3. We reap more than we sow. Why do farmers plant their seed? Because they expect to harvest a great deal more than they sow. A single seed that sprouts can yield dozens, scores, even hundreds of seeds. It is the same way with both sin and righteousness—a small decision to do either good or bad reaps a much bigger crop, for either joy or sorrow.
Jesus used the picture of a sprouting seed to show that when we allow God’s Word to produce good things in us, the results multiply: “But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” (Matt. 13:23) On the other side of the ledger, the prophet Hosea describes what awaits those who choose to sow seeds of wickedness: “They sow the wind and they reap the whirlwind” (Hos. 8:7).
4. We reap later than we sow. Some are deceived because their present seed does not appear to be producing an immediate crop. So they continue down their course, mistakenly believing that there will never be a harvest. But unlike the crops of the field, which get harvested at approximately the same time each year, there is no regular timetable for the harvest of life. Some crops we reap quickly; others take a long time. But do not be deceived—their season will come. And by going the second mile now and giving more than is required, we will reap rich dividends later.
“For whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” What a comforting and assuring thought to those who faithfully labor under difficult circumstances. Faithfulness in such situations will produce a rich harvest in the future, for our heavenly Father always keeps His promises.
Are you contemplating anything that could have serious long-term ramifications if you yield to the yearning? A wise person evaluates choices by looking ahead to see what negative consequences could follow a course of action. Don’t let “a bowl of soup” hinder God’s wonderful plans for you.