Sowing and Reaping (Series 3)

We sow in one season; we reap in another season
Galatians 6:7 – Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
I my youth, I lived a worldly life-style. My focus was I. All to myself! I was rebellious and I defied anyone who would warn me that the things I am into would soon catch up with me. Well, I should have listened to those well meaning advises because I know now, they always does catch up, and with with interest. As seen from out text, God will not be mocked by man.

No man can mock God’s laws and get away with it. Sooner or later our choices will return to give us its account. It is a given law that reaping is always the result of sowing, but many have been so deceived that it is not so because reaping is always on a different season. The result, the harvest is not instant. Let’s look at the reality of this particular law of the harvest from God’s standpoint.

Genesis 8:22 reads: “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” The harvest is always a season after planting. There is seedtime and there is harvest time, summer and winter, etc.

There are seasons to life and the reaping is not instantaneous. Plants don’t grow overnight. Whatever you plant! It goes through a process of growing. The first day we went biking I cannot almost pedal a kilometre without stopping to rest the legs. Athletes don’t become strong or proficient in a week. Children aren’t born overnight. Wisdom isn’t gained overnight, and so it goes throughout all of life.

That’s why God has this words for us in Galatians 6:9 says, And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. The same is true with non-godly things we do… in due season we shall reap.

Last Sunday, I spoke about reaping after its kind. This morning, we are going to deal on the issue that reaping time is a different season. The Bible sometimes refer it as due season or due time. In due course! Time is always necessary for growth, in all things. The Bible talks about that in Ecclesiastes. It is very popular that they are recited during funerals. Even our new President elect in the Philippines quoted it in his speech.

This teaches us that laws of God have its own due course. You may ignore it as much as you like but due time will soon reveal its fruit or harvest. In Ecclesiastes 3 it say- To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; Scripture and life itself teach us that for everything, time is needed for growth and maturity; be it in the biological, zoological, social, spiritual, mental, athletic, and economical areas of life.

This is one principle that mankind doesn’t want to face- that we reap in a different season. And so, here we have some important factors to consider: It is a fact that we do not see the immediate results. Many times we think that we have gotten away with something or can get away with something, but the fact is, we never do. Eccl 8:11-He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end. This is what this verse talks about. Although God has made everything beautiful for our hearts to enjoy but sin has made our hearts desperately wicked. And so, people’s hearts are growing to do evil. But remember that the sentences against all this evil deeds are not immediate. And though it is not immediate, the result could actually come when you have already changed your ways.

I have seen a lot of people who are now doing right and faithful in the Lord, cry when they start to reap something they have done many, many, years back, and say, I don’t deserve this. It’s not that God is vindictive! It’s just the nature of the law of sowing and reaping. It has got nothing to do with being vindictive. God may have forgiven you already. It’s just that the harvest time has arrived. And sometimes it comes in the worst of time in your life. I am not saying there are no exceptions. There are, which I am going to talk about later.

And you know what’s the culprit to most of our failures? We cannot wait upon the Lord. We are self-willed, we live in a self-oriented society that says, “do your own thing,” or “follow your own heart.” That’s the worst advice you can give anyone. You cannot follow your own heart because the Bible says in Jeremiah 17:9 it’s desperately wicked, who can know it? And mostly they do this for instant gratification.

A self-willed person is not willing to wait. Our sinful nature have handed down over to us from generation to generation the trickery of instant gratification. We have instant everything: instant tea, instant oatmeal, quick rice, TV dinners, microwave and a car that can jump 0 to 80 in seconds. And do you ever wonder why many are suffering from depression, record accidents and illnesses of all sorts? And God in the Bible says WAIT! Oh no, no, we can’t wait.

In most cases, we don’t say it openly that we are going to defy God by saying No, I am not going to wait on you God… we’re actually afraid to say that because we think it’s sacrilegious… but in reality, even Christians in most cases, are actually defying God and act like they are better than God. We want what we want… and want it now… it is because our generation today are accustomed to immediate gratification.

And this is the reason why many Christians would miss church on the Lord’s Day. They are chasing something and it has to be now at the expense of the Lord’s Day. This also the reason why many Christians would defy the Lord’s instruction to return the Lord’s tithe because they first want self and immediate gratification with what they have earned. Let me enjoy what I laboured first. Why should God enjoy it first?

This is despite God’s challenge when He said, Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse,
that there may be meat in mine house and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. I thought this is important to mention here because many are not blessed in their lives. God must be first even in our earnings.

We are too often unwilling to wait for the results of biblical sowing—sowing what is good and waiting on the Lord and His timing. It is when we reject the righteousness of God and trust our own reasons that Isaiah 50 says ye shall lie down in sorrow.
Instead of having peace with God, you will be pressed down in painful distress. Jeremiah 17:5-7 says -Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.

All these verses are for us to understand that we need to wait upon the Lord! The Psalmist, in his determination to wait patiently on the Lord, wrote in Psalm 130:5-6 – I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. My soul waiteth for the Lord
more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.
Unfortunately, we tend to operate more on emotional reaction rather than to seek biblical guidance and wait. When we do this, it only shows that we have little or no faith at all. 
We fail to have the perspective of laying up treasures in heaven but laying up treasures down here that do not have any eternal value. The Psalmist knew that envy, fretting over the prosperity of others, especially from the unbelievers, was really a matter of faith and seeing life from an eternal perspective.

So the advised us in Psalm 37:7-9 Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.

On the Lord’s exhortation for us to lay up heavenly treasures more than earthly treasures, I want you to remember how Jesus rebuked His disciples, “oh ye of little faith” (Matt 6:30). And you know that in three verses after this, Jesus gave the formula for success. We must always remember that God’s will for us is to wait on God’s appointed time. And in the Law of the Harvest, “We sow in one season; we reap in another season.”

Therefore, this should give us both a warning against sowing evil and an encouragement for sowing good seed. Prov. 12:13: “The wicked is snared by the transgression of his lips.” This verse serves a warning because one day you will be trapped with your own evil deeds. But look at the promise for sowing good. 1Cor 15:58- Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

Waiting patiently is faith, and it is sowing good. James 5:7-8 -Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. For in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Let us wait patiently and not faint. Let us wait patiently on the Lord who will reward our labours. When we wait in true faith, we are renewed in strength to be able to continue to serve the Lord. We can anticipate but we cannot see the harvest time, therefore we have to wait upon the Lord of harvest. All that God has promised will be realized and fulfilled. So let us keep our integrity and uprightness- these are characters we need to learn from God’s words as we trust and rests in His grace and power.

Not only that we reap in different seasons from when we sowed, but that we also reap more than what we sow. This is of utmost significance. It is very sobering. When I was little I will never forget Dad will set aside from hundreds of bag of harvest a bag or two for seedlings for the next planting season. It is a fact that when we sow little kindness, we receive plentifully from the hand of God who is never a debtor to no man. Harvest is always greater than the seeds planted. If this were not the case, do you think farmers would ever bother to plant?

If he only got back the same what was thrown on the ground, it is a futile exercise. It is a loss. Life would be meaningless. Reaping more than we sow is fundamental to the laws of the harvest and this is not just true in the agricultural world, it is true for nearly every aspect of life: for the physical and the spiritual, for believers and unbelievers alike. This law works in reverse as well. When we sow evil, we will generally reap more than we sowed as well.

Of course, there are some exceptions, which I mentioned before. As for crops, due to the fact we live in a sin cursed world with natural and economic disasters, a farmer may sow bountifully and have his crop destroyed by drought or a storm, OR he reaps a good crop but not be able to reap a reward from it because of economic factors besetting the country.

In the same token, by the grace of God in this age, when there is genuine repentance and change, God may intervene to reverse the effects of that law. We may not reap the results of sin as bountifully as they experienced in Old Testament times, but the law still applies in general.
We read in Proverbs 22:8 the declarations of this law. He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail. There is a kind of play on words in this passage. “Vanity” here is better translated as “calamity, trouble, sorrow, distress, misfortune, and emptiness.” So this verse is telling us that when a person sows iniquity or wrong, they will reap trouble and sorrow more than what they have sown.

Last Sunday I quoted Hosea 8:7 – For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind. The phrase “sown the wind” is temporal. It refers to the futility of Israel’s human solutions and strategies as they were seeking to handle life and problems, especially their idolatrous worship. Israel tried to design God according to her own wishes instead of knowing and trusting in the Word and the true and living God.

God’s warning here is that you do not just reap in kind, but you will reap much more than what you sowed. All her efforts towards self-preservation have become self-destructive. So wind then is sowing your own solutions, and therefore you will reap its tragic consequences. You can read many Bible accounts on this: Jacob for example, sowed the wind in his scheming with his mother Rebekah to get the family blessing in Genesis 27.

So what happened, they reaped the whirlwind—troubles and heartaches. He had to run away from his brother Esau. After that, Rebekah, who said to Jacob to stay safe from his brother for only few days, it ended 20years that they have not seen each other. Then it snowballed from there, because we read in the Bible that again Jacob later would receive in kind and even more from Laban, his father in law. The Bible says Jacob loved Rachel so much but he ended up with Rachel’s sister Leah.

Somehow, God intervened the effects to all of Jacob’s sin when he wrestled with an angel asking God for forgiveness. God forgave him and intervened in bringing all those lost relationships back together but make no mistake, the troubles that he had could have been avoided had he followed God’s way. The same is true with David. I could go on and on with Bible examples.

And although David sinned against the Lord, he confessed and repented of His sins. He did not try blaming on someone else; in Psalm 51:4 he said, Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight. After that forgiveness, he walked with the Lord and sowed what was good. When confronted with his sin by Nathan, he quickly confessed. This made him a man after God’s own heart. Since then David’s life was sowing good, not evil, and as a result, God continued to bless him and many of the kings of Judah for many years.

My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, aren’t you glad we have a Bible to show us the harvest of all those that seek to glorify and those that failed to please God. I want to encourage everyone here today, regardless how strong the pull of human logic to do wrong, try to focus your efforts on sowing what pleases God. There is a song I cannot forget, “only one life, t’will soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.” Those words are true.
Jesus Himself first gave His all in everything that He did for God the Father and for us. He put his heart into his work not to please humanity but to please God the Father. Oh, if we could only adopt the same mindset! Our lives would be much more fulfilled. Remember that God’s purpose is to conform us to the image of His son. This life is our shaping ground for us to be in the likeness of His son.
Let us sow that which will give us rewards. Colossians 3:23-25 gives us this instruction: 
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.
Remember, when God is pleased, nothing else matters. If there is anyone here who are not sure where you are going when you die, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. Invite Jesus in your heart, repent and make Him you Saviour and Lord.

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