The thought of “reaping eternal life” caused me to pause as I wrapped up Galatians this morning. What a thought! That what I think, that what I pursue, that what I do, can all be planting seed which produces harvests of eternal life. Some of that harvest, I think, can be reaped this side of heaven. The rest of it? I can only imagine! What I do know is that a little bit of seed sown in the Spirit will produce a bountiful return. Found these thoughts from a 2010 post on the law of the harvest. Thought I’d re-run them . . .
It’s like gravity . . . one of those laws of nature that governs how things work. I’m no scientist, but I know basically how gravity works . . . you let go of something, and it falls to the ground. Simple . . . always true . . . and once you get it, you can leverage that law and work with that law to your benefit. Such is the law of the harvest. Not too complicated really, what you sow, you reap. Plant wheat seed, and given the right conditions, eventually you’ll harvest wheat. Plant corn seed, plan on picking corn in the late summer. If you want to enjoy strawberries, you better not be planting radish seed in the spring. Simple. Sure. And, probably one of the most significant spiritual principles the believer can take hold of.
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that 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. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
(Galatians 6:7-9 ESV)
It’s kind of interesting that Paul would end his letter on grace . . . his defense of “Christ plus nothing” as the means of salvation . . . with an exhortation about doing stuff. But the works he encourages here are not works to earn or merit salvation . . . they are the works of the saved. It is the labor of the redeemed, those who, by faith alone in the Person and Work of Christ alone, have been forgiven of their sin and have been given the Spirit of adoption, being made children of God because of belief in Christ. And Paul says (kinda’), “Now that you’re saved . . . quit putting your efforts into trying to merit God’s acceptance and favor — that’s done. And stop investing in the old man and the old ways — you’ve been saved from that. Instead, start farming the promised land. As you live your life, you’re going to be dropping seed along the way . . . make sure it’s seed that results in a heavenly crop.”
What a perspective that puts on life’s efforts. We can sow according to the game plan of this world . . . plant according to our old man and our old ways . . . and be assured that what we will reap, will be stuff of this world and stuff of this flesh. Stuff that ultimately will perish . . . stuff that starts rotting almost as soon as it is harvested . . . stuff that won’t last. Or, we can take everything we do . . . from the mundane to the significant . . . from the pragmatic to the visionary . . . and consecrate it . . . and dedicate it to Him who loved us unto death . . . and do it all under the banner of “for God’s glory alone.” And, in doing that, it becomes spiritual seed which will result in an everlasting harvest. The promise is ours, “Sow to the Spirit, and of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” It’s the promise that we can start to experience “here and now” and will fully enter into “there and then.” We can, each day, determine, by His grace, to plant Spirit-filled, Spirit directed seed and will, in due season, reap the stuff of heaven . . . the riches of the kingdom of God. It’s a law of the natural and, it’s a law of the supernatural, as well.
But I also notice that, while the cause and effect are sure, the timing can be a bit of a wild card. Unlike physical seed, which is pretty predictable in terms of when it will harvested (given the right conditions), the harvest of Spirit-sown seed is somewhat less predictable. Hence Paul says, “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” I guess that’s the faith part . . . we sow because He has promised that we will reap even though we don’t know exactly how long the “in due season” will be. We determine to sow in accord with the Spirit’s will and leading because we are convinced that the return will be out of this world, literally. We plant not because it’s necessarily appreciated, or even noticed, but because we believe Him to be faithful who has ordained the law of the harvest.
Oh, that I might be continually seeking to be led by the Spirit. That I might lay down Spirit-filled and Spirit-willed seed. That I might see some small indication of the harvest being formed within me even now . . . the fruit of the Spirit, ” . . . love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23). That I might sow to the flesh less and less, instead planting seed that, by the promise of God, will have eternal benefit.
That I might be farming the promised land. By His grace . . . for His glory.