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.
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.