Alex couldn’t stand the sight of it—one more baby, another young mother—at the mall, at the grocery store, in the park where she sometimes wandered, imagining her child on that little slide. Everywhere she went, babies in strollers in the neighborhood, in car seats at the gas station, in the nursery at church. Alex wanted a child—she’d shared how much—but for her, it was not to be. She and her husband had tried, almost from their wedding day, but still, no baby. There was only cruel disappointment as months turned into years and a decade passed.
But one day, that all changed—but not for any reason Alex could ever have foreseen. It happened when she learned about the Biblical law of “sowing and reaping”: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked. A man reaps what he sows” (Gal. 6:7). Essentially, this means that we harvest what we plant. This is a foundational truth in both the physical and spiritual realms, also known as the “Principle of Return” or the “Principle of Reciprocity” (derived from the word “receiving”). In short, how we implement this law will determine whether we succeed or fail in the pursuit of our dreams and destinies.
As Biblical laws go, “sowing and reaping” is huge.
However, most people are not aware of the scope of its effect; many understand that this truth impacts finances—monetary giving results in a financial return—but many don’t realize it also influences all other areas in life. Yes—all. Here’s why:
Principle #1: You reap because you sow. Every farmer knows that in order to produce a crop, he must first plant seed. If he chooses not to plant seed, he won’t reap a harvest. Period. There is, after all, nothing there to grow and multiply. And while we might think that fact would be a no-brainer, many is the person who plants no seed in some area and yet expects a harvest in that area. Take finances for example: a person might be fervently petitioning God for provision, yet gives no money in donations or offerings; in essence, he plants no seed. That would be one reason for no harvest.
Principle #2: You reap what you sow. Every farmer also knows that if you want carrots, you plant carrot seeds. You don’t plant watermelon seeds or bean seeds or a coconut. If you need money, you give money—and you give it first. We do not reap before we plant. That’s all. Moreover—and this is crucial—this principle applies to anything we sow: if we sow anger (or kindness), we will reap anger (or kindness) from others. If we sow division (or unity), we will reap division (or unity) among groups. If we sow unhealthy habits, we will reap illness, disease and even death. If we sow healthy habits, we will sow health—mental, emotional and physical. The problem is that many people sow bad seed, but still expect a good harvest and are totally dumbfounded when they reap disaster.
Principle #3: You reap more than you sow. Farmers also know that seed is multiplied after it is sown. For example, one apple seed produces an entire apple tree, itself bearing hundreds of apples, each apple producing multiple seeds. The same is true in the spiritual realm: Whatever we sow, we will reap as a multiplied harvest. That’s great if we’ve planted good seed, but if we’ve sown bad seed, then we will reap pain, loss, disaster and regret—lots of it. Furthermore, if we don’t plant anything, we’ll reap nothing but drought. In other words, say we sow neglect in a relationship, chances are good that we won’t just reap reciprocal neglect; we may well reap a loss of the relationship. Still, some people think they can “get away” with sowing bad behavior because they don’t see a bad return on their bad seed. Yet.
Principle #4: You reap later than you sow. Seeds take time to grow and crops take time to manifest. That’s why we have “seasons”; there is planting time and harvest time. We don’t harvest in the spring, meaning we don’t harvest immediately after we plant. The same is true in the spiritual realm; harvests take time. But—and this is key—a crop will appear. We will reap the consequences of our actions. Moreover, just as some seeds take longer than others to produce—beans sprout in weeks; oaks take decades—some actions take longer to manifest consequences than others. Lesson? Just because a harvest doesn’t happen immediately, doesn’t mean it’s not coming. This is good news for folks awaiting a good harvest produced from good seed. It’s not particularly good news for those who’ve sown wrong seed.
So what of Alex? After she grasped the law of sowing and reaping, she decided to host a baby shower for every pregnant woman in her church—no lie. In short, she sowed the kind of seed she wanted to produce. Within a period of time, she became pregnant and had a child and I believe she now has two children. She sowed seed into the lives of others of the kind she wanted to reproduce, and she was blessed with a “harvest” of that seed.
If you take nothing else away from this principle, understand this: If you sow no seed, you will not—you cannot—reap any harvest. A crop cannot grow where it has not been planted.
Need money? Give money. Want to get married? Bless others in their marriages. Want to see loved ones saved? Pray for others’ loved ones. Want success in business or school? Help others to succeed in theirs. It’s not difficult.
It is your key to destiny.