Are you planting the kind of life you want to grow?
“Be careful, you reap what you sow.”
If you’re like me, this phrase may strike some fear. When I was younger, it was used to scare me into good behavior. If I sow bad behavior, I get bad consequences. If I sow good behavior, I get good consequences. The concept is simple enough, right? But what if there’s something even deeper than behavior in this concept Jesus taught?
Jesus’ audience was all too familiar with this principle. Their lives revolved around the law of sowing and reaping because they depended on farming to survive. A farmer sows, or plants a certain seed, and expects to get that same type of plant in return.
Paul, who penned most of the New Testament, and Jesus, talked about sowing and reaping as an allegory — a story with a hidden meaning. Scripture uses the picture of a farmer who plants a seed expecting something to grow as a way to show that our daily decisions and actions also have a definite return.
Sowing is Spiritual
In Galatians 6:8-9, Paul explains to Christians in Galatia that sowing is the start of the battle for our hearts:
“Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Our lives will reflect what we plant in our hearts. We can sow in one of two ways, and the decision is ours.
1. We can sow to please God.
When we sow to please God, we are doing something that will be eternally beneficial. When our decisions and actions are done out of obedience to God and His Word — like loving a friend well or practicing generosity and hospitality — we will receive a blessing that far outlives this life.
2. We can sow to please Satan.
When our thoughts and actions are led by our sinful nature, we are not pleasing God; we are actually pleasing Satan. When sin guides our lives, we will be led away to a destructive future.
Sowing is Literal
Galatians 6:7 teaches us another important principle in farming: You reap what you sow.
A farmer sows a mustard seed, and in return, a mustard plant grows. A farmer would never plant a mustard seed with the expectation of growing a watermelon vine. Likewise, we can expect our thoughts and actions to produce fruit keeping with their kind. For example, if our actions are pleasing to God and we love those around us, we can expect to see love blossom while we experience love ourselves.
Like most laws of nature, the reverse is also true. We cannot expect to experience all the good things God has for us in life if we’re never following His instructions. If we sow sin and unhealthy patterns, we can expect to experience their consequences.
What seeds are we sowing today? Are we aware that our thoughts and actions have temporary and eternal consequences, both positive and negative?
Reaping is Plentiful
A farmer plants a tiny seed and over time that seed produces a plant. The plant is towering when compared to the size it was as a seed. The farmer reaps a sizable benefit in comparison to what he has sown.
In Matthew 13:8, Jesus said the same principle applies when we receive His word with a willing heart. When our hearts are positioned to obey and follow Jesus, He is able to multiply His work in us to create a harvest beyond what we could imagine.
A few ways to sow good seed today:
- Read the Bible. NewSpring has several studies to help you get started.
- Do what Jesus says. Reading the Bible is a great way to learn about Jesus. Doing what the Bible says is how we become more like Jesus.
- Practice selflessness. Is there a way you can put someone else’s needs above your own today?
- Give love away. Surprise someone with something kind. Bring coffee to a tired mom. Send an encouraging text to a friend. Leave a treat left on your neighbor’s doorstep.
We plant seeds that are pleasing to God, and He takes care of the rest. When we are generous with what He’s given, He meets our needs and then some. And when we love those around us well, we will never see the ripples end because of His miraculous multiplication.