Sowing and Reaping

I know not everybody grew up on a farm so I will give you a quick lesson on farming.  When you eat an apple, that apple was not born at the local grocery store.  It was grown on a tree.  That tree didn’t just show up either.  That tree grew from a seed.  An apple seed to be more precise.  It took years and years for it to go from a seed to a sapling, to a full grown tree.  If I gave an apple to you and you ate it down to its core and you gave me the seeds and I planted them and something started growing from that seed, you would not come up to me and say, your grapefruit tree is growing.  Right?  Why not?  Because there is a law of nature.  You don’t plant a peach pit and get strawberries.  There is a consistency between what is planted, what is grown and what is harvested.  An apple seed will grow an apple tree from which you will be able to harvest apples from.

We have been working through Psalm 1 together.  We started off by talking about what a blessed man doesn’t do, which is move in the direction of the foolish and ungodly, but the direction of his life is set by delighting in God’s Word.  Worship and good work make this blessed person happy because he is meditating, thinking, about verses that have been memorized.  The last chapel we talked about the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s.  Trees were planted by farmers to prevent these huge dust storms from happening again.  King David writes that we are to be like a huge tree, planted by rivers of water, drawing our energy and strength from God and His Word and the community of believers that we are to be a part of.  Like a huge tree, we are to be unmovable and strong, even when storms and winds come against us.  A tree like that was carefully planted with good seed and well-taken care of so that it could bear healthy, vibrant fruit.  

King David is telling all of us to live our lives always thinking about the harvest.  Another way of saying it always has a harvest mentality.  Let me put it this way.  The apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 6,

“Do not be deceived or tricked: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”  

To sow seeds means to plant them and to reap means to harvest or pick the fruit.  What this verse means is that actions have consequences.  The seeds we sow, which are our actions, have consequences, and those consequences are the harvest of our actions.  What you sow, you reap.  Everything you think, say or do, has a consequence.  It could be a good consequence that leads to God’s blessing you with His grace or it could be a bad consequence that goes from bad to worse if you don’t repent.  A harvest mentality is thinking about what will be the consequence of me doing this.  

The verse in Galatians talks about not being deceived or tricked.  What is Paul talking about with that?  We trick ourselves when we don’t believe in consistency, when we flunk farming 101.  We think we can act however we want, be selfish, and be bored when we hear God’s word and then expect God to take care of us and bless us.  That is inconsistent.  That is tricking and deceiving ourselves.  If the law of nature applies to apple seeds and apple trees, it most definitely applies to selfish actions leading to punishment and loving actions leading to blessing.  In fact, Psalm 1 says that the blessed person who has sown good seed bears good fruit, and will prosper.  We immediately think of having lots of money.  Although working hard and loving your neighbor may result in that kind of prosperity, this verse is talking about prospering by having a full, vibrant life that flourishes.  Just like a beautiful tree that has deep roots next to a river of clear blue water.  You and I want to be just like that tree.

Every day you and I are planting seeds.  

Each of those seeds will grow.  They will bear fruit.  That fruit will be consistent with the seed that it came from.  One of the most common temptations for students, and at times, adults, is to be impulsive.  To immediately do or say whatever comes to mind.  You see your brother or sister walking by, in a moment, wham, you smack them.  They, of course, start crying and run to the nearest parent.  If your mom or dad is like me, one of the more common questions we ask is, what were you thinking?  The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  Parents, why do we keep asking this question?  We all know what they are going to say.  I don’t know.  

You don’t know why you smacked your sibling because you did not have a harvest mentality.  In a moment, what you wanted became the most important thing and nothing else mattered.  Your needs, your wants, and your desires became everything to you.  You tapped God on the shoulder and said thank you so much for warming up the throne for my life, please step aside, I will be taking over as king, thank you very much.  All this happens in an instant, but each time we do it, we plant a seed.  

Our impulse is to follow immediately after our wants, our needs, our desires.  Each time, we sow seed after seed after seed.  We don’t study for a test and we are shocked that we got a low grade.  We are lazy with our homework and we can’t believe that the teacher is asking us to redo it.  We are mean and unkind to others and wonder why no one wants to play with us.  We are disrespectful and disobedient to our parents and teachers and we wonder why we don’t have a lot of freedom.  A harvest mentality sees that if I do this, or think that, or say this, I know what the consequences will most likely be.  A harvest mentality is not impulsive.  It is guided by a mind that delights in God’s Word and mediates on it all the time.  When your actions come from that place of wisdom, you sow good seeds that will grow to make you like a tree that is full of fruit and one that prospers even in drought and difficult times.  The only way to sow good seeds that lead to a prosperous harvest is to have Jesus change your heart.  You must willingly give up the throne to your life and give it back to God to be king and follow His ways.  We celebrate the fact that God did not leave us alone to face the consequences of our sin and misery, He sent His son Jesus because we could not save ourselves.  He is the only one who can change our hearts and lead us to sow good seeds that bring a harvest of righteousness.