Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Eat Seed Or Reap The Harvest

"You reap what you sow." How many times have we heard this? And what does sowing and reaping have to do with us? In our extreme post-industrial consumeristic society, do we even know what this means and how it relates to anything relevant? When most people think of this subject, usually one or two things come to mind (besides the Grim Reaper cartoons): God's judgment and proselytizing (the planting of "spiritual seeds").

Certainly, there are plenty of spiritual metaphors; this is what we hear in church every time these terms are used. Paul talks about "sowing to the spirit" and Jesus relates sowing seeds to the Kingdom of God. Bearing good fruit and the fruit of the Spirit are just extensions of this same metaphor so prevalent in the bible.

What is 'sowing and reaping', and how does it relate to wealth in our modern society?

Ever since Adam and Eve flailed in the Garden of Eden, they couldn't just pick food off the trees - but had to work for it. Since then, farming has been the primary means of sustenance for most of human civilization. So needless to say, this favorite parable subject of Jesus was a critical part of daily life at the time.

Sowing is the planting of the seeds in season, and then waiting until its time to gather or harvest of the mature grain crops, or reaping.

2 Corinthians 9:10 tells us, "Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness."

As Genesis depicts, the seed comes from God. Sowing and harvesting is an integral part of God's natural system. When a seed is planted it provides fruit (grain/bread/life sustaining food/etc.), AND multiplies back even more seed to the farmer. Not only will the farmer's hard work in seeding be rewarded with a harvest of fruit, he will gain exponentially more seed with which he can plant more crop.

Now substitute "seed" with "money." The results are the same. If people take their seed-money and invest it (sow it one way or another), eventually it will grow and produce its own fruit. This of course will take time and patience, just as the farmer plants the seed in one season and the reaping takes place in another. Money can be made to work for the sower, and then be multiplied back. Sounds so simple.

Unfortunately, substituting "farmer" with "American Consumer" doesn't work so well. The average American Consumer likes to spend. This is like the farmer EATING his seed before he planted it. The only difference is that the farmer and his family would die if he did that. No seed, means no harvest and no growth. The farmer must plan ahead and be disciplined, while most Americans want to spend NOW.

No wonder so many Americans work
sooo hard and sooo many hours, yet live 'hand to mouth'. They would rather eat their seed-money than make it work for them. But reaping always comes after planting the seed and waiting for it to grow.

If we keep eating our seed and don't have the foresight and discipline to produce a fruit in this world, how can we expect to grow spiritual fruit?

See the last post on Sowing and Reaping.

Pictures above are: 1. The Grim Reaper in cartoon. 2. Sowing seed in Old Testament times. 3. Farming in Roman New Testament times. 4. The American Consumer?

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John Block said...

What an uphill battle to get across the idea of "eating your seed" in a consumer society that is self-absorbed. Continue sowing the seed of truth. Good thoughts.

Anonymous said...

One might dare to wonder if excessively consuming our seed in many ways as sinfull. If our seed is not sown, what little we have may be taken from us through our own worldly desires.

SierraSojourner said...

....and that would be called Mammon