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Sowing and Reaping

“The business of ‘the world’ is buying and selling.  The business of “the Kingdom” is sowing and reaping.” – Jean Boudou – South African barrister and world speaker 

During the summer holidays I achieved a personal goal – a study of all the major Bible passages which teach on Sowing and Reaping.  To my astonishment I found that there are none which teach directly on the subject.  Always it is mentioned as a proof of some other principle being taught.  I was left asking myself “Why?”

The conclusion I came to is that in Bible times, Sowing and Reaping was considered so obvious that it didn’t need to be taught.  Living in an agrarian economy, they understood that unless people sow, they simply couldn’t reap.

How different our culture has become.  Today at school, children are taught differently for the sake of their self-esteem.  They are taught that they are ‘number one’.  The world owes them a living.  Consequently they leave school thinking that they are free to do what they please.  Then at about age 30-40 they come to us, holding hands, and asking: “can Liberty Trust help them buy a home?”  They are finally coming to realise that they have been sold a lie.  Life is really about responsibilities and relationships.  They have just talked to a bank lending officer and are shocked at what they have learned.  Unfortunately they have just lived 20 years of spending on themselves, and made no provision for the future.  They have never understood what was fundamental in Bible times – that unless you sow you won’t reap (Gal.6:7-10).

We tend to think that Sowing and Reaping is principally about money, but we are wrong.  It is a natural rhythm that is fundamental to all of life.  Yet today many of us still carry ‘the world’s’ thinking into our lives.  For example, adolescents spend years looking for a partner who will give them what they want – a partner to enjoy life with.

Jesus however taught that life a matter of Sowing and Reaping. -“Give and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

We tend to give only ‘so much’ into our marriages, still believing that our life is our own.  We retain our rights.  We even call our spouse our “partner”, as if the marriage relationship is a 50/50 partnership where each should only give 50%.  Jesus would reply that if we only give 50% - we will only get 50%.  The more we give - the more we will ‘reap’.

Jesus further illustrated the principle in John 12:24 when teaching of His imminent death.  He said: “Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed.  But if it dies it produces many seeds.”  Jesus gave His everything (John 3:16) so that we might live.

I have always likened contributions given into Liberty Trust, or elsewhere into God’s Kingdom, as Sowing before Reaping.  While this is correct, my vision has been too small.  While financial giving will result in financial blessing, the blessings far exceed just financial blessings.  If we are to reap the life that Jesus meant for each one of us in John 10:10: “I am come that they may have abundant life”, then we have to lay down our old lives completely and take up His.  Jesus said to the rich young man who asked him how to inherit eternal life: “Go, sell everything you have and give it to the poor”.  Yes, Jesus’ heart ached for him, but he could accurately see that he was living for himself.  As Jesus also said in Luke 12:33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.

It reminds me of a story told of a rich man who died and asked St Peter (at the gate) if he could bring it all in with him.  “You can only bring in that which you have given away,” replied Peter.

Unlike the agrarian economy of the day, Jesus taught in His parables that good seed always multiplies when it is planted in good soil.  I see an obvious example of Sowing & Reaping in families.  The amount that parents give in training their children up to about age 12, and the example they set them after that, will have a huge influence upon their children’s lives.  Nevertheless, no matter what they sow, it is finally the children’s own choice which will determine what they reap.  We simply have to teach this to our children.  Paul says in Gal. 6:7: “Do not be deceived.  God cannot be mocked.  A man reaps what he sows.  The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”

Unconsciously the world today still understands that sowing is necessary before reaping, “but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things, come in and choke the world”  Mark 4:19.  Training in finances has to start as young children (Prov. 22:6) or the world’s message will later choke it.  This is why we are so earnest in our cry to parents to introduce their children to sowing into Liberty Trust at a minimum, as part of their training for life.  As parents we know it from first-hand experience.

   Best wishes, Kelvin

   February 2013