We Reap In Proportion to What We Sow
The promise and warning of Scripture is that we reap what we sow. This means that life's choices are filled with consequences both good and bad--temporal and eternal. Reaping what we sow means we reap only what has been sown, we reap in kind as we sow, we reap in a differ-ent season than we sow, we reap more than we sow, but we also reap in proportion as we sow.
In reality, the laws of sowing and reaping mean, "As Now, So Then." Not "someday, and then I'll get started." Why is this? Because today we are becoming what we will be the rest of our lives!!
While the last two laws are related, there is a very impor-tant difference. The last two laws both deal with the fact we reap more than we sow. Both deal with quantity and amount, but the previous law where the seed sown is multiplied many fold has to do with God's part, but this one with ours--with human responsibility.
It has to do with living by faith, with being faithful, bold, courageous, venturesome.
There is a sign along the Alaskan Highway that reads: "Choose your rut carefully, you'll be in it for the next 200 miles." God's part is that whatever is sown is multiplied many fold. Man's part is that, trusting in God's sovereign providence, mercy, and promises, he needs to sow all the good he can and leave the results to God.
I. Declarations of This Principle 2 Cor. 9:6.
"But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully." (2 Cor 9:6)
A. Bounti-ful sowing leads to bountiful reaping.
1. If you want to be rich . . . GIVE!
2. If you want to be poor . . . GRASP!
3. If you want abundance . . . SCATTER!
4. If you want to be needy . . HOARD!
B. The world's philosophy, that of man's wisdom, is typically just the opposite.
It can be described as:
1. GET ALL YOU CAN
2. CAN ALL YOU GET
3. THEN, SIT ON THE CAN.
II. Examples of this Principle.
A. The law that "we reap in proportion to what we sow," like all the laws of the harvest, operates both negatively and the positively.
1. If we sow abundantly to the Spirit, we will reap abundantly in spiritual blessings and consequences.
2. But if we sow abundantly to the flesh, we will reap an abundant harvest of the consequences of fleshly living--a life full of the weeds of unrighteousness.
B. David is a case in point:
1. Because David continued to sow to the flesh, his sin snowballed.
2. He went from coveting Bathsheba to one sin after another until he had broken half of the Ten Commandments.
3. He sinned abundantly and reaped abundant consequences.
C. However, the primary motivation and emphasis of this principle and promise in the Bible is toward the good.
1. It is a spiritual law of life that is inherent in the nature of God, but one that is contrary to the nature of man.
2. So God encourages us through a number of passages to live as children of God according to this principle and promises that our generosity will not be forgotten.
"I have showed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive." (Acts 20:35)
"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." (Luke 6:38)
"And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life." (Mat 19:29)
"There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself. He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it." (Prov 11:24-26)
D. One of the results of this principle is that we are to be:
"Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." (Titus 2:14)
"Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work," (Titus 3:1)
"This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men." (Titus 3:8)
"And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful." (Titus 3:14)
3. In other words, we are to be a people who sow bountifully or generously of our lives, of our talents, time, treasures, and truth.
III. Foundations for This Principle
A. God's Character
1. God's divine essence, His character, forms the foundation and motivation for operating by this princi-ple in life.
2. We need to remember who God is, what He is like, and what He has promised.
a. Not only is He omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, and sovereign
b. But He is a loving, kind, gracious, and a giving God.
c. It is God's nature to bless and give.
d. The gift of His Son is the supreme illustration of this.
B. Since this is the case, we can expect God to be generous with us when we echo His character through our walk with Him.
"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Rom 8:32)
"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us," (Eph 3:20)
1. Notice carefully what the Lord is able and wants to do for us:
a. According to what we ask and even think…
b. Above all we ask and think…
c. Abundantly above all we ask or think…
d. Exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think.
2. Obviously, since bountiful sowing is the result of what we do, we need to say a bit about our part and what is needed in us if we are going to act on this principle of sowing bountifully.
a. Bountiful sowing is always to be the result or the outworking of biblical insight, values, commitment, and the Spirit-filled life.
b. Note: 2 Corinthians 8:3-8 c. Note: 2 Corinthians 9:5-6
3. Our sowing is to be the result of faith from single-ness of vision and devo-tion to God.
4. We should give because we are trusting God for eternal treasures, trusting God both to supply our present needs, and increase our ability to give and be a blessing.
5. Of course, we should always give out of love for God and people in need, but we also give in faith because we know God has promised to supply our needs, that our giving will not be our lack.
6. In connection with the gifts given by the Philippians to supply his needs, Paul wrote:
"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Phil 4:19)
"But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver." (2 Cor 9:6-7)
C. We do not give in order to get!
1. A point of clarification is in order here concerning 2 Co. 9:6.
2. The analogy of sowing and reaping in 2 Corinthians 9:6 does not teach that you will get back ten fold or a hundred fold of your giving so you can live in greater and greater luxury or prosperity.
3. In grace sowing, you give so that God is glorified and others receive a blessing.
4. There is a promise of return, but it is to increase our seed for sowing, greater giving, and increase the harvest of our righteousness, spiritual fruit for the glory of God (Cf. 2 Cor. 9:1-11).
D. Life's Uncertainties will always be there.
1. Note: Ecclesiastes 11:4-6
"He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap. As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all. In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good." (Eccl 11:4-6)
2. Contrary to how man typically thinks, these verses and the conditions they describe are designed to promote bountiful sowing, not the opposite which is stinginess.
3. These verses warn about the dangers of being overly cautious which hinders generous sowing.
4. The uncertainties of life are one of the things that keep most people from giving and ministering to others when they have the opportunity.
5. They are afraid their giving will be their lack.
a. Who knows what the future holds.
b. If I give, I might not be able to meet the needs of my family.
c. But these verses are given in a context that calls for casting our bread upon the waters, for generous giving knowing that our gifts will return to us later.
6. The point here is don't try to second guess the sovereignty of God.
7. Just trust the Lord.
8. We can't wait for conditions to be perfect.
9. Nor can we wait for things to be free of all risks--absolutely free, abso-lutely safe.
10. Instead of protecting ourselves, we have to take what appears to us as risks and live by faith. Cf Ecclesiastes 11:1-6