The Law of Harvest
Pr. Charlie Wang
June 30, 2019
Galatians 6:7-10 Matthew 7:16-19
Our God created the universe with his laws. Everything is governed by some laws, like the law of gravity, holding all of us to the ground. God gave human kind, the most unique and sophisticated creature in His creation, the ability to comprehend laws. God also gave people faith to believe that His law is non-negotiable in any sense and that God is not going to be mocked. Those who despise or violate God’s law have to swallow up the bitter fruit. Those who obediently seek and follow the law will be rewarded greatly. Psalm 119:1 “Happy are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD.” Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD. All the scientists and researchers are in the business to find out laws of nature and human life. All schools and parents try their best to teach the upcoming generations to understand and to follow all kinds of laws. Churches of Christ proclaim the spiritual law to the world and equip God’s people with the power to follow God’s law.
One of God’s fascinating laws is the law of harvest. Human race can survive on the surface of the earth because of this law. It is the most basic assumption of agriculture. It includes three principles: 1. we reap what we sow; 2. there is a time gap between planting and harvesting; and 3. we reap much more than we have sown. Think about the peasants’ life of scarcity thousands of years ago. Peasants didn’t have much food for the family. Both parents and children had to go to bed with empty stomach. But they had to put aside the seeds for the next spring. Nobody dared to eat up the peanut seeds for the harvest of next year. This is the faith of farmers. They know for sure God’s law of harvest continues to work for the years to come. If they want to have more food, they have to save the best seeds in hope to harvest more. If monkeys have a bag of peanuts, they would not keep one as the seed for planting. They eat up the last one. They don’t understand the law of harvest and don’t have faith in it. They are animals. This difference separates humans from animals.
The law of harvest is both true and applicable to food production and our spiritual life. That’s why St. Paul shared this truth in Galatians 6:7-8 “Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. 8If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit.” Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
Every spring, we think of what to plant in the backyard, cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, green onions or squashes. We know what we plant would decide what we are going to eat on the dinner table. We cannot change what we have already planted. We need to decide what we are going to reap beforehand. Sometimes we are not happy with what we have planted. But we can have a fresh start when we plan what to plant. We can’t change the past, but we can decide the future by planting the right seeds.
Jesus stated clearly in Matthew 7:16b-18 “Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.” It is ridiculous for anyone to expect to gather grapes from thorns. It doesn’t matter how much time we spend in prayers or Bible study, God is not going to turn thorns into vines for grapes. Unfortunately, some Christians, including pastors or some church leaders, try hard to alter what they have planted through religious practice. That’s a wrong theology. God is not going to break his own law. God teaches and disciplines his children all over the world by reinforcing this law. If we plant something wrong, we can ask for God’s forgiveness and start over anew for the future, but we have to swallow the bitter fruit.
Job, a wise and godly man, reached a priceless conclusion in 4:8 “As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same.” However, people deceive themselves in an effort to get away from what they are responsible to reap. No, they can’t. God is not to be mocked. His throne is set up in our midst. The law of harvest is not going to compromise. Always be careful when we are to sow some seeds.
The second principle of the law of harvest is that it takes time for the seed to sprout, take root, grow, bloom and bear fruit. It doesn’t matter whether we sow good or bad seeds, we need seasons or years to see the harvest. It is inevitable. Its arrival is slow but sure.
In this matter, our sinful human nature deceives us in two tendencies. We are too impatient for the good seeds we have sown. And we are ignorant of what the bad seed is to bring forth for us. St. Paul encouraged all of us in Galatians 6:9 “So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.” And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.It is easy for us to get tired and weary when we don’t have the result immediately. We all know that education is a good investment. However, it takes a very long time to see the harvest. There is no shortcut for any students to take. They have to be trained year after year. A medical doctor spends twenty plus years for general education and special training to be qualified. I told English learners that mastery of a language like English takes tedious work of decades. Many people fail to harvest from the good seed they sow because they can’t wait long enough for reaping.
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
We desire to be spiritual and mature people. But if we don’t sow the spiritual seed day after day by reading the Bible and praying and meditating on biblical truth, we are not going to grow spiritually. There is only instant noodle or instant coffee but there no instant saint. We are spiritually weak and it is easy to grow weary in doing what is right. If we don’t give up, we will reap the harvest. It is the matter of faith and perseverance. Christians are not day traders in the stock market. They know the law of harvest. They are patient farmers, sowing, watering, plowing and harvesting every day till eternity.
On the other hand, people become too ignorant of the bitter fruit waiting for them on their way. Since they don’t see the consequences right away, they mistakenly believe God’s law doesn’t work for them. That’s one of the biggest human mistakes. Years ago, there was a great ABC News anchor, Peter Jennings. He smoked heavily for decades. When he reaped the fatal fruit of accumulated nicotine and tar residue in his lungs, everything was too late. People are blinded by illusive temporary gratification and overlook the inevitable consequences. I remember a line from a movie, “The Lord of War”. “Why should I be bothered by the disease of HIV positive which might kill me in ten years?”
Proverbs 20:4 “The lazy person does not plow in season; harvest comes, and there is nothing to be found.” The Bible tells us not to blame anyone else when the bitter fruit is on our plate. Don’t envy those who reap a lot from good seeds. People long for a trustful relationship. However, if people are not honest and sincere, there would be neither trust nor relationship. If we don’t sow and plow in season, we have to be empty handed sooner or later. The law of harvest dictates this. We cannot see a physical God but God’s law is everywhere. We can’t afford neglecting it.
The third principle is that we reap much more than what we have sowed. A handful of seeds in spring will produce a truckload of crops in the fall. It yields hundreds of times more than what we have sown. Think about King David. When he occupied Bathsheba, the wife of his worrier, Uriah, he thought he did a little evil in a sneaky way. But our God is not going to compromise his law and principles because of David’s status, contributions or the size of the evil. God confronted David through the prophet Nathan in 2 Samuel 12:10-12 “Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, for you have despised me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife. Thus says the LORD: I will raise up trouble against you from within your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes, and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this very sun. For you did it secretly; but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun."
David murdered one innocent person but the sword never left his household. His children and grand children killed each other. He took one woman at the cost that all of his wives were raped on the top of the palace in public. Psalm 32 and 51 tell people how many tears he shed for this so-called little evil. Through David’s confession and repentance, God wants to tell all humanity that we should never overlook the size of the evil seed and never sow it. It will grow to the size beyond what we can handle. God forgave David and continued to use him. But the bitter fruit went after him for life.
By the same token, the good news is that God rewards a little good seed with abundant blessings. The Lord Jesus promised in Mark 9:41 “For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.” A cup of water counts very little. But if we give it to God’s people in Christ’s name, it is a good seed and the best investment we can make. God’s reward is attached to any small unseen good seed. Children of God always look at the glorious harvest in eternity and plant good seeds for it every day.
We all thank God for the founding fathers of America. Those humble Christians were struggling for what kind of country they should build and seeking God‘s guidance. Finally they sowed good seeds of peace, democracy, justice, fairness and liberty. Therefore we can have this great country in the world today.
We thank God for letting us learn together the three principles of the law of harvest. They are: we reap what we sow; there is a time gap between planting and harvesting; and we reap much more than we have sown. Now let us particularly pay attention to what kind of fruit we need in life. There are three kinds of fruit: the good crops we need in this life; the spiritual fruit to make us holy as God’s children; and the eternal fruit in God’s glory.
The good crops we need in this life mean our overall well-being, including health, wealth, purpose of life, all relationships and growth. Of course life is not fair. We are limited in our DNA, birth place, early education, growth circumstance, opportunities, so on and so forth. But we still can do many good things to improve ourselves in the light of God’s wisdom, insights and strength. Good food, sound rest, appropriate exercise, joyful heart will contribute to our health at length. Financially Christians are not encouraged to pray for a windfall from heaven. We need to be frugal, tithe to God, save a right portion of income and invest in right places for retirement. In relationships, we need to be determined to improve ourselves in integrity, care and love. In education, we should waste no time but grasp any opportunity to learn. God is good. He allows us to plant good seeds everyday in all aspects of our lives. The crops of well being will be ours as long as we never lose heart.
The Bible lists nine spiritual fruit in Galatians 6:22 “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control.”
These nine fruit have little to do with what we have. They are a part of Christian character. Even though I don’t have them all, but I love to be close to those whose life is full of these nine fruit. I love to be a man of these nine fruit. How can I? Everyday let the Holy Spirit work through me. I learn to obey the voice of the HS. I plant the seed of God’s Word and let it take possession of me. As long as we turn ourselves to be a fertile soil for the seed of the HS, we will grow into godly people with nine beautiful fruit. It takes time, but the fruit is worth more than anything else in the world.
Finally, Christ is the seed of eternal bumper harvest in heaven. He loves you and me. He loves to see us reap in God’s glory. The fruit is forever and worth more than anything we can have. If we plant good seeds everyday and reap the three kinds of fruit, we will be very, very rich in any sense.
Honestly, all of us are reaping what we have sowed yesterday or yesteryears, and at the same time we are sowing seeds for the future reaping. No one is too old to sow good seeds from now on. What we sow and how we sow will determine what we are going to reap. After studying the law of harvest, we should be determined together to sow good seeds everyday in good faith, and expect three kinds of good crops in harvest. God will smile at you and me, saying, “Good faithful servants, your surprising reward is here because you have followed the law of harvest!” Amen!