Principles of sowing and reaping

One of the most important principles in the Bible, is the principle of sowing and reaping. Let us read Galatians 6:7-9. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

What we are experiencing today is as a result of the seeds that we have sown in the past. Our future depends on the seeds that we sow today. Therefore, we can direct our lives into God’s blessing by sowing the right seeds. It is like steering a big ship. If we want to go in a certain direction, we can ask ourselves the question, “what seeds do I need to sow?” We can climb out of our negative situations step by step if we sow the right seeds.

It is futile to expect a harvest if we do not sow! If we want God to do something for us, we need to also ask the question, “What must I place into His hands?” We have the example of Jesus when He multiplied the five loaves and two fish. Fish were multiplied into fish, and bread into bread. It must be placed into His hands. It is there that He blesses it.  We need to give it to Him!

We have the illustration of the farmer who sows his seed in a field. In order to have a harvest, he needs rain and he needs to plant seeds. If there are no seeds and it rains, there will be no harvest, and vice versa, if he plants seeds and there is no rain, there will be no harvest. The rain is like our prayers. It is asking God to do something for us. The seeds are the actions or steps of faith that we need to take. It is useless to pray and pray and not to sow!

Some important questions about sowing and reaping:

1. What seed should we sow?  

First of all, we need to determine the harvest that we expect. We reap what we sow!  If we want to reap tomatoes, we must sow tomato seeds and not carrot seeds! Many people expect God to do things for them without planting the right seeds. For example, a pastor wants God to bless his church, he needs to first determine, what seeds he needs to sow! It may be words of faith, acts of kindness or steps of faith.

Let us read 2 Corinthians 9:10,Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness,” We notice here, that God multiplies the seed that we sow and we will always reap more than we sow! Secondly, God only multiplies that what we place into His hands. If we place money in His hands, He multiplies money. If we place nothing in His hands, He multiplies nothing!

Furthermore, when we talk about seeds, we are not only speaking about money.  Our seeds can be finances, time, love, honor and kindness. One of the most important seeds that we sow, are our words. When we continually sow good words, these words will produce a good harvest. We can change our circumstances by the words we speak.

Furthermore, we read in Galatians 6:9,If you sow to the flesh you reap corruption, if you sow to the spirit you reap everlasting life.” In other words, sowing to the spirit will affect our spiritual lives, on earth and in eternity as well. The only way to consistently grow spiritually is to consistently sow spiritual things into our lives. This included, prayer, reading the Bible, worship, etc. We cannot expect to grow spiritually, if we sow rubbish into our minds. The Bible says that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds.

2. How much seed should we sow?  

To answer this question, we must be generous in our sowing. In 2 Corinthians 9:6 we read, “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”  Proverbs 11:25 says, “The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself.” Jesus said in Mathew 7:2with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” If we sow with a teaspoon, God will use a teaspoon to measure it back to us. If we use a cup, He will use a cup. If we use a spade, He will use a spade. It is stupid to give a few dollars and expect a million dollars!  

It is not only important how much we sow, but how much is left over after we have sown. We read about Jesus and the poor woman who gave two small coins. Jesus said that she has given more than the rich people because she gave all that she had. God does not measure our generosity by the amount that we give, but by how much it cost us to give. A poor person, who gives a little, will often reap more than a rich person who gives much! Therefore, one of the best things poor people can do, is to give!

Furthermore, we do not only reap the benefits on earth, but we can also receive great rewards in heaven. Jesus said to the rich young ruler in Matthew 19:21, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.

3. Where should we sow our seed? 

The answer is in good soil. We read about the parable of the sower who sowed his seed in good soil and received a good harvest.  (Mark chapter 4) The best soil to sow our seed is into the Kingdom of God, where our seeds produces the salvation of souls and an increase of God’s kingdom.  We read in Galatians 6:10,Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” It is often a waste of money to give to worldly organizations that do not increase the Kingdom of God!

Furthermore, it is not good enough to sow into any church, ministry or Christian organization, but we must sow where fruit is produced. In the parable of the talents, the man with the one talent had to give his talent to the man who had ten and not to the man who had five talents. Therefore, God often gives His resources to those who produce the most fruit, and not to those who have the greatest needs! It is also important to be led by the Spirit where we sow should sow!

4. How should we sow?  (There are a number of ways to sow our seeds:)

(a) With joy.  2 Corinthians 9:7 the Bible says that God loves a cheerful giver.  This is because God is a cheerful giver. Our attitude is more important than the amount that we give. If giving makes us sad, or someone tries to force us to give, it is better that we do not give!  

(b) With faith. We must expect a harvest when we sow. We read in James 5:7, «See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain.” It is stupid if we do not expect a harvest when we sow. Can you imagine a farmer sowing seed in a field that does not expect a harvest! 

(c) With patience: Galatians 6:9 “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” There is always a period of time between sowing and reaping. We often have to do the right thing for a long time before we see the harvest. It takes time for the seed to produce the fruits.

(d) Sow in secret.  Matthew 6:4 says, “Your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.” This applies to our giving, our praying and our good deeds. The greatest harvest comes when no one knows what we do in secret. Jesus said that our left hand should not know what our right hand does!

5. When should we sow? 

It is obvious that a farmer cannot sow his seed whenever he wants to. The season must be correct! Usually, wheat seed is sown in winter, and the harvest is in summer. To answer this question, firstly, we should have a regular discipline of sowing. Secondly, we should have peace in our hearts when we sow. In Isaiah 55:12, it says, “you will be led forth with peace“…. In other words, we do not sow when it causes us to lose our peace.  In 2 Corinthians 9:7 we read that we should not give grudgingly or be compelled to give. Thirdly, a good time to give is when we have a lack, when we do not have much to give.

We read in Proverbs 20:4, “The lazy man will not plow because of winter; He will beg during harvest and have nothing.” Although this applies to plowing, it can also be applied to sowing. For example, if we want a wheat harvest, we sow our seed in winter. Winter is often an inconvenient time. Many times we need to sow our seed, during our spiritual winters, when all looks bleak and hopeless. We need to use the winter times in our lives to prepare ourselves for our breakthroughs in the summer. For example, a good time for a preacher to prepare new sermons, is when he does not have many opportunities to preach.

We read about Isaac in Genesis 26. In verse 1 we read that, “There was famine in the land…” Then in verse 12 we read, “Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold.” When we have a little, and we sow, we then reap the greatest harvest!  Ecclesiastes 11:4 says “He who observes the wind will not sow and he who regards the clouds will not reap.” If we are too careful and wait for everything to be just right, we will miss opportunities to sow and reap.

We must sow our seed and eat our bread.   

We read in 2 Corinthians 9:10 that God provides seed for the sower and bread for food. It is important to know how much we receive is seed, and how much is bread. If it is seed, we must sow it, if it is bread, we must eat it, it is for us.  If a farmer receives a bag of seed and eats all his seed, he will not have seed for the next season. Sometimes God gives us things because He loves us and it gives Him great joy when we are blessed with that which He gives us. I heard of a man who prayed for a car. God gave him a car. He then wanted a better car so he decided gave his car away.  God did not give him another car, because, “he sowed his bread instead of eating it!

Finally, the principle of sowing and reaping is the principle of increase. It is the means that God used to bless us and meet our needs. Often, we are waiting for God to bless us. But He is waiting for us to put something in His hands, so He can multiply it and bless us. May God richly bless us as we apply this wonderful principle of sowing and reaping.  Amen.