"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
May 2, 2018
There is a "Random Acts of Kindness Day", which began a few years ago and is recognized each February. The thought is to encourage individuals and groups to do a random act of kindness that day, which in turn will cause the receiver to pay if forward and do an act of kindness for someone else.
This is one concept of what sowing and reaping looks like: you sow the seed of kindness into an individual, they reap the harvest, then sow a seed into someone else, which results into a bountiful season of giving and receiving.
Often the concept of sowing and reaping is taught and thought about in the context of doing good deeds, or by planting a seed in someone's heart by sharing the gospel, or in giving, or regarding ministry, or in numerous different ways that is positive. And there is much truth in that and a principle that Jesus taught.
Sowing and reaping not only benefits the one who does the planting or harvesting, but has an affect on other people, allowing them to enjoy the fruits of someone else's hard work and labor.
For example, my dad and stepmother used to plant a garden each spring. Daddy generally got the land reading for sowing seed, then I think both of them did the planting, Daddy did a lot of the tending and harvesting, and then June canned a lot of the vegetables. But many benefited from their harvest. During growing season, whenever I went for a visit, they would always send some fresh vegetables home with me. Then later during fall and winter, whenever I visited, they would go down into their cellar and get a jar of home-canned green beans or tomatoes and insist that I take it home with me. Whenever family were there visiting, Daddy and June didn't just cook the produce from their garden for themselves, but shared it with whoever was eating at their table. Those seeds that they planted in their garden were a benefit to many people.
2 Corinthians 9:6-11 explains it like this: "Remember this -- a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must decide in your heart how much to give. And don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves a person who gives cheerfully. And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say, 'They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.' For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God."
But there can also be a negative context to sowing and reaping. If someone sows a sinful seed, then they're going to get a sinful harvest; and the results of that is going to affect others. Often that person thinks that their actions isn't the business of anyone else, not realizing, or perhaps simply not caring, that their deeds can have a snowball affect on many people.
Lying not only affects the person who speaks untruths, resulting in them being caught in a web of deceit, but it will cause hurt and harm to others. Stealing causes the thief to have to have a secretive existence, and it causes loss and hardship on those who are robbed.
I've seen it happen when a person decides that freedom from marriage would be much easier and is what they desire; no restrictions, no responsibilities, no boundaries; being able to do what they want, when they want, with who they want. More times than not, they begin doing things that they would never dreamed of doing before, thinking that finally they're getting to sow their wild oats and live the life that they never had a chance to live when they were younger, or trying to go back and relive the life that they had when they were carefree and single.
Their rebellion, lack of responsibility, sin, and actions not only has an affect on them, but also affects their spouse, their children, their parents, their siblings, their friends, co-workers, church family, and everyone connected to them. They try to persuade others that they are in the right, wanting people to take their side and justify that they are right in what they are doing.
Sowing seeds of ungodliness will never result in the type of harvest that we read about in the above passage of scripture in 2 Corinthians chapter nine. It is not ever going to be ordained or blessed by the favor of God!
The truth is, no good ever comes from a situation where sin and rebellion and irresponsibility is involved. Never! It only leads to hurt, separation from God and family and friends, lying and trying to cover up sin or trying to lead a secret life, heartache, and pain. Not only for the person who chooses to sow the seeds of sin, but for everyone connected to them.
Galatians 6:7-8 says, "Be not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life."
Job 4:8-9 says, "According to what I have seen, those who plow iniquity and those who sow trouble harvest it. By the breath of God they perish, and by the blast of His anger they come to an end."
We all are sowing seeds of some sort; but we each have to decide what seeds those will be. Are we sowing seeds that God can bless and multiply; or are we sowing seeds that bring about negativity and destruction? You cannot remain neutral, thinking that you'll stay in a safety zone where you neither sow nor reap. If you do nothing, then you are sowing seeds of slothfulness and showing others that you don't care for yourself or them; and not utilizing the gifts that God has given to you.
We all are sowing something. What do we want our harvest to look like? I want to use the seed that God has provided for me, plant it, let it grow, harvest it, and generously use it for the things that I need as well as provide for the needs of others. I want 1 Corinthians 9:6-11 to be what my sowing and reaping life looks like! I don't want to sow to my flesh and reap corruption; nor do I want to harvest trouble. I want to sow to the Spirit and from the Spirit reap eternal life!
You'd think a farmer was nuts if you saw him planting thistle and ragweed. Especially if he complained at the end of the season that he got nothing but thistles and ragweed.
In all the world today, there are people planting anger, hatred, fear, and all sorts of sin. And many people look around, wondering why we have so much disease, crime, and death.
Of course not everyone spreads seeds like anger and fear. But if you planted a crop of mostly wheat, and a little ragweed, a little thistle, and a few mimosa trees, you would get some wheat, but it would be hard to find, and not good quality.
Chicken Avocado Salad
1 rotisserie chicken, deboned
3 avocado, diced
Debone a rotisserie chicken and cut the meat in bite-sized pieces; place in a mixing bowl. Chop 3 avocados and sprinkle liberally with lime juice (I also sprinkle salt); add to chicken. Chop fresh cilantro and add. Mix in mayonnaise -- begin with 1/4 cup and add more to get it to your liking. Refrigerate until ready to use. Serve on croissants.
When my mom's youngest brother was around 6 or 7 years old, the family was attending church and the preacher asked if any of the Parton boys had a special to sing. Wayne jumped up and walked to the front of the church and sang, "I washed my hands this morning. I washed them clean and bright. And I lifted them up to Jesus; for Him to see them right." He did all the hand motions, with his little dirty hands, as he sang. The family was so surprised when he got up to sing, as it was the first time that he had ever sang in church.
No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted. - Aesop
We love you!
Loretta & Jon