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Our friend Mark grew up on the farm; actually on an Ozark Mountain farm. And that means rocks in your fields! One local grandfather used to say, "Every time it rains I grow rocks in my field." Mark knows all about that. Over a period of time, his mother made him clear hundreds of rocks out of one of their fields when he was just a little boy. Recently, Mark bought some land from his mother. And as he has started to work one of those fields, he was really pleasantly surprised by how amazingly rock-free it is. Then it dawned on him, this was the field he had made rock-free when he was a boy!
Mark is reaping the good work he did many years ago. He's enjoying the benefits of those efforts. It's a reminder of one of the wisest laws in the Bible, "Whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap" (Galatians 6:7). We usually think about that in terms of the bad consequences of the bad seed we sow, but there's another side to that reaping equation.
In Galatians 6:8-9, our word for today from the Word of God, it says, "The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the spirit will reap eternal life." You don't just reap the bad you sow; you reap the good you sow. Paul goes on to make a very practical application, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."
Why do we sometimes give up on some of the good we're trying to do? Well, because of the nature of harvesting. If a farmer plants corn on a Tuesday, he doesn't go out and pick it on a Wednesday, or for many, many Wednesdays after that. There's a time lag between sowing and reaping, and it can look like nothing's going to come from it. So we quit sowing in the lives of our children, our church, our coworkers or our friends.
But we end up living today in the life that we built yesterday - the relationships we built - good or bad, the reputation we built, the ways we've treated people. You did some sowing today and you'll ultimately get back the kinds of things you sowed. So spend the time that person needs from you. Consciously do random acts of kindness each day. Give a gift when there's no occasion for your appreciation but just the person himself. Send those thank you notes. Give that compliment; that word of encouragement. Use the money that God's entrusted to you to lift people's burdens and people's spirits. Don't be afraid to be generous. After all, Jesus said, "You lose your life by trying to hang onto it, but you find your life by giving it away" (Luke 9:24).
Scripture is actually full of encouragement to keep sowing good seed. "Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again" (Ecclesiastes 11:1). "With the measure you use, it will be measured to you - and even more" (Mark 4:24). "A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed" (Proverbs 11:25). Don't be afraid of what you'll lose by giving. God has promised that you will gain so much more. You don't become richer by keeping what you've got. You become richer by giving it away.
So, keep scattering good seed wherever you go, because then there's an awesome harvest coming.