Sunday, June 14, 2015

Tough Sow

Tough Sow
June 15, 2015
Psalm 125:6  "Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them."
The Bible discusses topic of planting and harvesting multiple times throughout Scripture.  It uses the conversation to parallel how principles work in the Lord's kingdom.  The physical representation of a farmer planting his seeds and the physical representation of the farmer harvesting his crops are analogous with sowing and reaping in the spiritual realm.  This is no hidden truth in the Bible; I think we are all familiar with sowing and reaping.  But there is an aspect many of us gloss over in the sowing/reaping analogy.  We often forget their is pain in the sowing process.

We think if we sow kind words toward others, we will reap kind words.  We think if we give the Lord a little money here and there, we will reap more money here and there.  We think if we sow some good works for others then they will feel indebted to us and we will reap similar regards in return.  While this is slightly the case, we are sowing inappropriately.  Scripture says the man who sows with weeping will reap his harvest with great joy.  For a farmer to sow with an attitude of weeping, he is using his last bit of grain for seed rather than for food.  He is putting it into the ground, with no guarantee of return or food, in exchange for the hope of an abundance of food for his family in the near future.  His family may be watching him, or even helping him plant, imagining the current meal they could be having but instead they are hoping for a better future.

This same principle is true in the spiritual realm but we do not always realize how we should be sowing and what it is we should be sowing.  The analogy of this farmer sowing his seed is planting while experiencing sacrifice.  He is experiencing pain during his planting process, something you and I don't readily entertain.  When we plant, is it easy to do if there is excess.  But how many times do you plant when there is nothing but your last few morsels?  Are you willing to put them into the ground without the guarantee of a return?  Are you willing to rid yourself of your last few drops of sweat for only the hope of a harvest?

We have lost the art of self-sacrifice in the church.  It started with the lack of teaching on fasting (which is to train the mind and the body how to sacrifice) and it has culminated with the prevalence of the social media selfie entertained by our pastors.  When you tithe, if there is not enough money left for all your bills, do you sacrifice the bill in order to tithe?  When you consider the eternity of others, realizing you should do your part, do you plow through when it is tough or do you only attempt to sow into the spiritual lives of others when it is easy?  Do you go out of your way, at a cost to your comfort and standard of living, to help those the Lord has asked you to help?  Do you purposely live below your potential standard of living just so you can sow into the lives of others?

There are a few who have chosen to sacrifice for the spiritual benefit of others; we use to call them pastors and missionaries.  But you and I, fellow Christian, are to be one and the same with the pastors and missionaries of yesterday.  Our lives should be a life of self sacrifice in order to sow fully into the lives of others.  Even our own Christian walk, when we feel the tug of the world and are tempted to share in its wealth and experiences, though not necessarily a sin, should be filled with self-sacrifice in an effort to set a standard of living for the Lord.  When was the last time you physically cried when you were compelled to do something for your Christian walk and faith that was sacrificial?  When was the last time you opted to forgo the family vacation in order to put the time and money into a missions trip?  The Lord would suggest it should be more often than not.

This same principle is true in our own spiritual relationship with the Lord.  We must sow of our own personal time, spending it with the Lord and His Word sacrificially, in order reap a personal spiritual harvest full of joy.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Ps 126:5-6, Lk 10:2, Gal 6:7-9, James 4:3

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