I was reading in a little devotional booklet that I like to start my day with, and the author of one of the devotional stories used the parable of the sower in Mark 4 as her main scripture. It was a story I had heard many times, covered from many different points of view. But, as God often does, I learned something new from one little sentence: "Sow what you want to reap."
I live in the Midwest where something is growing almost all the time. Wheat. Beans. Corn. Fields are often green wherever I go. And if they're not green on any given day, they will be, just as soon as the next planting season rolls around.
I personally know farmers. My childhood best friend grew up in a farm family. My brother worked many years for our neighbor on his dairy farm. I've worked in businesses where many of the customers were farmers. And I never remember hearing a single one of them question why they planted beans and ended up with wheat. Or why their cow gave birth to a pig.
Does that make you chuckle? Is it ludicrous to think that a farmer would expect to see a baby piglet walking around with his herd of milk cows? As silly as it seems that one would even think that is possible, we can still live our Christian lives that way.
Proverbs 10:5 tells us, “He who gathers crops in the summer is a wise son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son." Why would a son be sleeping during the harvest? Because he hadn't planted anything. And we can be guilty of the same.
We spend little time reading our Bibles, and wonder why we are afraid to talk to others, knowing we won't have the right answer at the right time. We skip church a week here or two weeks there, and wonder why we feel like we don't have any really good friends, those folks we can call upon when times are tough or confusing. We make choices based on whims or what seems right at the time, feeling no need to consult God, but wonder why the choices bring about undesirable consequences.
For some reason, we don't think we will reap what we have sown. For some reason, we end up surprised when we plant thistles and get thistles, when we wanted roses.
If we want to reap a harvest of preparedness, we must be faithful students of God's Word. If we want to enjoy the benefits of friendship, we must put ourselves where people are, making ourselves open and available to others. If we want to have the benefits of good decisions, we must consult with God before we make a single move.
Another of my favorite pastors says this about the same law of sowing and reaping. He says, "You will reap what you sow, more than you sow, and later than you sow." He uses that simple illustration to remind us that it might take time, but, good or bad, we will harvest what we have planted, and more than we planted.
The key to take away here is that the harvest will be good or bad, depending on what we have sown.
Farmers see the end from the beginning. They calculate what they want their harvest to be, and depending on the answer, they know what seed to buy, how much seed to buy, and how many acres to plant once they get that seed to the fields. They sow what they want to reap, remembering that with time and effort, they will bring more crops out of the fields than the amount of seed they put in.
We are wise to remember the same thing about our Christian journeys.
We must see the end from the beginning. We must consider what we are called to reap, and sow to that end. Then, with a little time, we will be happy with the harvest.
And as is true of all good harvests, there will be enough to go around.
After all, isn't that the goal?
©2014 Wendi Miller
"Sow What?" Julie Ackerman Link, Our Daily Bread, September 8, 2014
Dr. Charles F. Stanley
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