Galatians 6:9: "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up".A wonderful friend of mine for almost 20 years who has been a faithful man of God for over 50 years owns a blessed and productive apple orchard. This apple orchard still supplies thousands of apples to an area business which makes up to 500 gallons of cider daily - pure, cool, refreshing tasty local cider! I don't think there is anything better in this world, except iced water, to sip on a beautiful fall day!
My friend planted those apple trees and nurtured them from the ground up for decades...and he still takes care of them as he did when he was in his thirties. Recently I was given a huge box of a variety lovely apples from his crop (which will become apple sauce by the way), and it got me thinking of reaping and sowing. I also contemplated thea legacy my brother in Christ and fellow warrior is leaving to the next generation.
Those who have built a booming business using his five-decade-old crop as a foundation are now providing employment for local men and women. Their store sells caramel apples, apple sauce, apple butter, apple cider, apple cider donuts and other local produce and meats from other local business. Anything from apples you can think off - they have it. Even cold yummy apple slushies from $1 up so the smallest kid can afford it. This is the essence of America. So much came from one man who planted an apple tree and opened a small shop for his wife to sell apple cider! The real life example here, has provided the impetus for this teaching from God's word to enable common folks like you and I, to leave a legacy which is just as rich as the soil my friend's apple trees stand on.
The Bible says in Galatians 6:7 ESV Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. This second part of the verse is natural law, logic and plain old common sense. The first part reminds us that what we are seeing in America and the World today is both self deception and the surety of the Justice of God! In the wider societal sense, the political-academic-cultural axis of evil has deceived the majority of the country (and the world) into a certain mindset and lifestyle which is leading the majority to final judgment before God one day....then eternal separation from Him.
There are many ways to look at the sure Word of God and its real-life implications in both a corporate (or societal) sense and then in a deeply personal sense. We have seen how the mocking and blaspheming of God by politicians, judges and the culture has sown a harvest of hell and damnation to each successive generation. We are responsible for that only in the sense of our voting patterns and how respond to it. What we are most responsible for before God, however, is our personal spiritual conduct in this sowing and reaping process.
There are a few takeaways we have to key in or focus on to grasp the Lord's teaching here, as relayed by Paul. The major points, in brief are:
1. The Sowing comes before the Reaping.
Everybody sows or puts something into play in life. Many folks, since the existence of humankind, have grown up where either evil has been sown (alcoholism, immorality, unbelief, anger and hate) or love of family and/or God. By the sheer act of living, we sow a part of ourselves. We leave a footprint in our every action. It is completely up to us what kind of footprint we leave behind. Just as an apple seed cannot bear oranges. Function follows Form and therefore, if we sow love, we reap love.
If we sow gossip, we reap gossip.
If we sow lies, we reap lies.
If we sow hate, we reap hate.
If we sow the wind, we reap the whirlwind.
So the first thing is - you and I reap only what we sow - that would preach - that's bible!
2. The Sowing of Bad seed can lead to devastation.
When King David lusted after another man's wife - Bathsheba - killed her husband to cover up his adultery and lied to himself for two years before Nathan confronted him, he set a series of events in motion which still has impact today. Solomon, the once wisest man who ever lived, was the product of that union. His immorality and pagan worship led to God splitting the Kingdom and judgment on the followers of the Law when God let the Romans completely destroy the Temple in Jerusalem in AD 70.
The seeds to that destruction were sown 1000 years before, when King David crossed the line. The Land of Israel has never recovered for that act, almost 3000 years ago and is now a 70% secular country. The good news for them is that on the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, one third of Israel will be saved from the fires of hell by the Messiah!!! (See Zechariah 13:8 here)
3. The Fruit from the Sowing may not be immediately seen.
We have all heard the stories of grandmothers or parents and prayer warriors praying for the salvation of a loved one, or even a fellow co-worker....and then never living to see this or that person come to a saving knowledge of Christ....in the praying person's lifetime. Then this same person, let's call him "Person A" being prayed for runs into another along the line who waters that evangelistic prayer seed....then this same unsaved person comes to either a dramatic "come-to-Jesus" moment and surrenders to Jesus, repents and gets saved AND THEN gets baptized. This entire procedure has been witnessed by the High Court of Heaven.
Each person along the course of Person A coming to salvation, sowed into Person A's life. This will then be evident on the Day of the Lord, in God's Courtroom, when the righteous stand before Jesus to be judge for our works. It may only be evident there that Person A we met on a train to New York or at the State Fair in line to buy ice-cream or at the Godmobile, actually remembered what you said 20 years before he gave his life to the Lord! THIS IS GOING TO HAPPEN, so look forward to it! Can you imagine the Joy you will have in heaven when Melissa or Joan or Jackson comes up to you and says "it was YOU who led me to a saving Knowledge of Jesus Christ, and I wish to thank you for it"!!! Factor this!
4. Correct missed opportunities to sow, by planting NOW!
Everyone of us have messed up! I don't know how many times I have figuratively kicked myself in the shin for neglecting to tell this or that person an encouraging word from the Lord. How many times have we ALL said "I wish I had said "something or other" and maybe this or that person would have felt better, gone away less confused or even believed the Gospel and would have been saved? How many times? Well, the answer is too many to count.
Is God a hard taskmaster sitting up on the Throne saying "I am going to get him or her, and show them they can't just do this and get away!" Does He do that? No! In His Mighty and Merciful Grace, He gives us one opportunity and another to make it right until we get it right! You and I cannot revisit the past and correct the errors of omission we committed, when we were either too chicken to talk to whomever, about what Jesus has done for us or how theLord Himself transformed us. What we can do, if we are wise, is to learn from our disobedience and folly. We can evaluate the following:
- the environment in which we missed it. Could it be a place we felt it was not appropriate or even against some degree from the boss not to talk about Jesus at work? If this makes you uncomfortable - immediately ask this person if you can speak to him on your break time away from your place of work, or after work for a cup of coffee or iced tea.
- the circumstances in which we missed it. Could it be you do not feel qualified to address someone who has just been diagnosed with breast cancer or heart disease and is in a panic? If so, while it may not be the same thing, speak about hope, the expectation of hope and the need to NOT lose courage. Do not use "religious lingo", just be human and loving in your natural self and watch the Lord use this willingness to even open the eyes of the person you're witnessing to maybe allow them to see you care about them and their emotional well being than they could ever imagine! If it is a serious medical situation, here is the place you may ask, in private, if you can pray for her/him.
- the words we used or did not use when we missed it. As we all know, we cannot live in the past or walk around saying "if I had only......"! We can become more acquainted with HIS WORDS - through intentional/devotional/relational reading of the Holy Word of Truth - the Bible and then Prayer! Because we know we have missed several opportunities in the past, we now double down and vow not to do it again but to proactively pray for God to send you more divine appointment this day or when He wishes, so you can share what He has done for you! If you do this and everything else He instructs you....if you are filled with the Knowledge of the Holy....if you are ready, willing and able...ALL you have to do now is trust, obey and step out of the way. Then watch Holy Spirit speak directly through you as you mouth His Words!