By Earl R. Gibson
The basic reason we sow is that we might reap. As we plant our gardens each year, we look to the time when we can reap or gather the fruit of our labor. This is a wonderful blessing that God provides for us physically. More importantly though, God provides spiritually a law of sowing and reaping that we are blessed with when we follow him. James says, “Be patient therefore, brethren unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain” (Jas. 5:7). Spiritually, a man is to sow his seed in view of the harvest of the coming of the Lord.
Our purpose in this article is to emphasize that both parents and children have the responsibility of learning the law of sowing and reaping. To do so will bring happiness and meaningful living, the very thing that God so desires for all. The Lord said through the apostle Paul, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7). We are to learn from this that we will not be able to change this law of sowing and reaping for the simple fact that God cannot be mocked. What he has set cannot be changed. The word “mocked” is from the Greek word mukterizo and both Thayer and Robinson define it as, “To turn up the nose or sneer at.” This is the only place where the word is used in the Greek New Testament and is used in connection with the thought of man’s responsibility to God, which requires him to answer for his conduct in this life. God has commanded his creatures to follow the proper course, to do that which is spiritual and not that which is dictated by the flesh. He has told man that he will reap the kind of harvest that he has been sowing. Thus, Paul is warning his readers not to be deceived or misled into thinking they can ignore God and avoid the undesirable consequences of an unrighteous life. God will not suffer anyone to “get by” with such an attempt. Therefore, the apostle affirms that you reap what you sow, a truth clearly taught by nature.
The majority of young people today seem to think that they have the right to sow their wild oats. In addition to this, there are even some parents who are encouraging their children to do so by exhibiting an attitude that says, “All young people have to let loose sometime in their lives! ” Can you believe such reasoning in view of the danger that is lurking in the world? Parents, are you not aware of the principle, “For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7)? Paul also wrote, “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption” (Gal. 6:8). Many young people are quick to indulge in the pleasures of sin which last merely for a season (Heb. 11:25), without thinking of the coming time of reaping. Paul also told the Galatians, “But he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Gal. 6:8). Those who do as the Word of God directs will reap everlasting life, the desired goal of every child of God.
Parents must instill in their children the consequences of their actions before God. To do so is to sow proper seed and reap a satisfied harvest in their children. What follows highlights some vital areas that parents and children must emphasize if they are to learn the lesson of sowing and reaping. Children are great imitators (Ezek. 16:44). They mimic what they see and hear. What if your children were to act like you! Would you be shocked? Suppose they were to talk like you, work like you, or have the same attitude about the church. Would you be pleased? Parents have the responsibility of bringing up their children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).
Children need to be loved. There are some parents, unfortunately, who bestow more love on their dogs and cats than they do their children. Paul, as he gave instructions to mothers, said, “Love your children” (Tit. 2:4). Sometimes parents, because of lack of desire or time, substitute monetary things for love. This produces a distorted concept of what love is and sets the child off center in understanding the law of sowing and reaping.
Children need responsibility. Parents must teach their children to accept responsibility while they are still young and at home. “It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth” (Lam. 3:27). Learning to work to receive a reward is vital in the home atmosphere that children might learn to prepare for the future in this life and most importantly, the life to come. God will reward us if we work in obedience to him. All children need to learn this lesson.
Children need proper communication. Parents and children must communicate to maintain a proper loving relationship. The main reason the “generation gap” has occurred is because of the lack of good family communication. Television has become a big factor in this communication breakdown. The TV has taken priority, leaving little time for basic family conversation. Instead of listening to one another, the family has substituted the TV. Parents need to control the time the TV is on and what is being watched. The family is indeed fragile and needs close attention at times. Let’s get our family priorities straight! If we don’t have good communication with our children, how are we going to teach them God’s law of sowing and reaping? God expects parents to teach their children his ways. “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children and shall talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and, when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates” (Deut. 6:7-9). From the days of old until now, God has expected parents to teach their children his ways.
Children need togetherness. If parents desire to raise their children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4), togetherness must be sought after diligently. Many children suffer a severe lack of togetherness with their parents. Nearly as soon as they are born, they are turned over to a baby-sitter or day-care center, to see very little of their parents during those important early years. The daycare often has more to do with shaping personalities than the parents. It is no wonder parents question the cause of the unruly nature of their children. In this day and age there are so many activities for both parents and children. Both are being drawn away from each other because of a mistaken notion that fun and entertainment outside the home will bring lasting happiness. Children need to learn that family time is most precious and brings peace and enjoyment. This becomes a basic lesson of sowing and reaping. Let’s get our priorities straight. Our children’s lives depend on it!
Young people need to awaken to the warning that God is not mocked. Living a faithful life as a Christian requires diligent effort at all times under all circumstances. Living for Christ involves more than just worshiping on Sundays and Wednesdays. Just as God loves us 24 hours a day we should seek to, respond lovingly to him by obeying his commands 24 hours a day. To do so is to sow seed that will reap a harvest of a home in heaven.
Tragically today though, many young people are leaving the Lord’s church and not returning. These young people are Christians with parents who are Christians. Many of them, while in their teens and at home, begin to lose interest in spiritual worship and the work of the church. By the time they are ready to leave home, without being grounded in truth and devoted to Christ, little chance remains for them to be faithful. Many young people are remaining faithful until the time they make a commitment in marriage. Far too many of these are compromising their faith and following their non-Christian mates. They are all sowing the seeds of foolishness to reap a harvest of sorrow.
The obvious fact cannot be denied. We are loosing our children to the world. They are not growing up to be faithful Christians. We need to give special attention to this ever growing problem. Parents and members of the church, must encourage faithfulness by providing proper teaching, example setting, and wholesome activities. Young people need encouragement to attend Bible classes and worship assemblies, learning that such action will reap a reward in heaven. They need to be encouraged to grow spiritually, making Christ and his church first in their lives. Older Christians, including parents, need to help the young by maintaining the principle of sowing and reaping in their own lives. The examples that parents set go a long way in teaching young people faithfulness to the Lord. How young people turn out religiously,often is seen as a great commentary on the parents who reared them.
Young people also need to learn to be good examples to their parents. “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Tim. 4:12). Youth is the time to set the patterns of life. “Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partakers of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure” (1 Tim. 5:22). As Paul spoke to Timothy, a young man, so he speaks to us today. We can’t go out and smoke, dance, drink, use drugs, etc., and still remain pure. If we defile our bodies, the temple of God (1 Cor. 6:19), with the things of the world, we sow the seeds that will reap destruction. Let us always keep ourselves pure!
Six things are mentioned by Paul in Philippians 4:8 that will enable .is to sow seed of righteousness if we allow our minds to be filled with them. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there by an praise, think on these things.” If our minds are not filled with these positive, spiritual thoughts, it will be impossible to sow the seeds of righteous activity. This verse describes the mind of a Christian. Does it describe your mind?
It will benefit young people if they ask themselves the following question: “Would you go anywhere or do anything that you would be ashamed for your parents to know?” God has given us a sufficient guide in his revelation to identify right and wrong, enabling us to live lives that are happy and right. Paul lists for us adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, etc. as works of the flesh and love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance as fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:19-23). To what we sow our seed of life (flesh or Spirit) will determine what we reap in the end. The apostle John warns us as well in 1 John 2:15-17, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: But he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.”
The lesson of sowing and reaping becomes vital when we realize that the children of today will be the parents of tomorrow and the church of the future. If we can learn the simple lesson of nature (sowing corn seed to reap a harvest of corn), hopefully we will learn that what we fill our hearts with and proceed to do will determine what our future will be. “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of lie” (Prov. 4:23). Following Christ will bring lasting happiness and true harmony between parents and children. The Lord’s way is a grand way to live, a wonderful way to grow old, and a glorious way to die.
Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 12, pp. 376-377
June 15, 1989