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Posts Tagged ‘sowing’

It’s a process, this sowing and reaping thing. Generally, this pairing is used as a metaphor for the bad things that happen in our lives, but of course, good planting makes for good results. Unfortunately, the good seeds seem to grow a lot slower than all the rest.

Hosea 10:12
Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.

I’m not really much of a gardener so I’m sure I’ll play havoc with this metaphor but there are some pictures that come to mind. For instance, the last time I tried to prepare and plant a 10×10 foot vegetable garden in my back yard.

Soil preparation was a complete nightmare. We live in one of those developments and didn’t realize how much refuse is buried on a lot before or while they are building a house. I found huge globs of cement, parts of boards, rocks, and even empty cans in that small plot of land I was trying to plow up by hand. And of course, the soil was as hard as could be. We finally had to buy top soil to dig into the original dirt which was worthless (it’s a wonder that grass could grow).

Finally, I got the dirt to look somewhat welcoming to a small starter plant or seed. And this was probably the best part of the process, the actual sowing or planting. Little did I know that the next challenges would be equally daunting: deer from the woods could easily hop over our split rail fence, our dogs and cats liked the new fresh soil for digging and leaving personal gifts, the weeds were indistinguishable from the plants (to my untrained eye), and the Maryland weather offered no assistance whatsoever.

So, after all that, what did I reap? Two broccoli heads, scrawny tomatoes, wilted lettuce, holey peppers, and three carrots of diminutive size. Go ahead and laugh. It’s a willow tree now anyway.

I’m glad the Holy Spirit is a better gardener/farmer than me. Oh, I know, I still have to participate, but I think the overall procedure is in God’s hands if I release my control, my time table, and my expectations.

Just keep doing the “right” thing, as best I can. Again and again and again. Keep trusting. Keep forgiving. Keep asking for forgiveness.

In both Mark 4:8 and 4:20 in the parable of the sower, I am promised a 30-60-100 fold return, but there is no promise about when.

Sowing in the Spirit realm is a marathon, not a sprint.

I love the idea of “unfailing love.” In this phrase is hope and promise, persistence and progress. I am actually living in the midst of unfailing love right now, no matter what my circumstances might try to negate. I have planted with Christ. Now, I must stand and give thanks because those other roads I could have taken, back there in my past, would have destroyed my garden altogether, I’m sure.

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Nowadays, swearing and oath-making are not very common. Of course, I’m not talking about profanity, there’s plenty of that. Funny, the same word, swear, has such opposing uses: one as a debasement while the other is a promise that is binding because of the witness of someone “higher” in power, class, or position.

Hebrews 6:16-17
Men swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath.

There are only a few places where the full intent of swearing is still recognized: a wedding where vows are made between two people; a swearing in to public office; and a swearing to tell the truth in a court of law. In all three of these cases, people are asked to “swear” over a Bible with the implication that they are “swearing by” God. Supposedly, they are saying the words that can be and should be witnessed by God who will/can affirm their truth. Hmmmm.

Sorry, but I don’t think people take these oaths very seriously anymore. Marriage oaths are broken every day. In fact, there are great numbers of people who consider divorce their first option if “things aren’t working out.” I know this attitude well, I had it myself when I married the first time. I had all kinds of provisos: If he does this or if he does that, or doesn’t do this or doesn’t do that, I’ll just get a divorce. Big deal, in other words. I’ll do what I want to do.

I certainly don’t feel so cavalier today. In fact, I’m beginning to wonder if there aren’t some serious repercussions for swearing or making an oath with little intent to keep it. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus discouraged his followers from making oaths, “. . . I tell you, do not bind yourselves by an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is the throne of God; Or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you are not able to make a single hair white or black.Let your Yes be simply Yes, and your No be simply No; anything more than that comes from the evil one.” [Matthew 5:34-37, Amplified]

Throughout this morning, a partner verse keeps coming to my mind about the sowing and reaping principle: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” [Galatians 6:7, NIV 2010] A vow or oath is a type of sowing, it’s a promise, and it’s the beginning of a process; when that promise is broken, the process is aborted and something else will happen instead. There has to be a reaping.

For this reason, I think, Jesus advises us to avoid these situations.

And, as an afterthought, perhaps the profane kind of swearing also bears some unpleasant fruit (or reaping) for the speaker. Wikipedia states that the original meaning of “profane” was “outside or in front of the church.” It is something that does not belong to the church. Interesting tidbit.

Before my Christ-centered days, I could swear up a blue streak and probably “out-swear” a truck driver if need be (not that truck drivers necessarily swear). I could also drink just about anyone under the table. I was proud of my ability to appear really “bad.” Inside, I don’t think I was much different than anyone else. I just covered up a great deal of my insecurities with behavior.

So, my take away for today is two-fold: I should be much more circumspect about the promises I make as well as more prudent in my words. I don’t profanely swear on a regular basis but I do find myself lapsing into some old bad habits. It’s unproductive, or worse, when directed at someone else, it’s “outside the Spirit.”

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