March 09, 2015

Sowing and Reaping

Galatians 6:7-10; Colossians 1:27

Whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

—  Galatians 6:8

"You reap what you sow!" May­be you have heard this saying before. Parents, teachers, and others use it a lot. It comes from this passage written by the apostle Paul: "A man reaps what he sows"—and Paul drew it from other ancient wisdom (see Proverbs 22:8; Hosea 10:12-13). Life's circumstances often prove the warning true.

Our great hope, Paul writes in Colossians, is "Christ in you, the hope of glory." Remember, Jesus was called Immanuel ("God with us"—see Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23). And eventually the Holy Spirit came to live in the hearts of all believers (Acts 2). This means God is ­recreating his image in us.

This calls for our cooperation. As the farmer must sow seeds, pull weeds, and fertilize and water his plantings to reap a harvest, so we must cooperate with the Spirit to grow the good fruit of Christlike living. Sowing to please the Spirit means our work is done out of love for God and our neighbors (Mark 12:30-31), love for one another (John 13:34-35), and even love for our enemies (Luke 6:35).

The Holy Spirit's guarding, guiding, inspiring, and working within us bears fruit that ­pleases God. We just need to learn how to sow and tend his crops. Spiritual discipline practiced every day will grow a great harvest of good in us that will please our Lord. Are you ready to sow with God?

Lord God, how can we ever please you? By the power of Christ and your Spirit, help us tend to the good we’re called to do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Norman F. Brown

Chaplain Norman F. Brown graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, in 1969. He served aboard destroyers during the Vietnam conflict and ashore in San Diego, Calif., as an instructor. By then God had made clear his call to work in pastoral ministry, and Norman entered Calvin Theological Seminary, graduating in 1980. Chaplain Brown pastored churches during his ministry career but spent most of his time as a navy chaplain. During one assignment he served three years at Holy Loch, Scotland, where he and his wife, Ruth, encountered the Iona Community and their emphasis on spiritual disciplines. Chaplain and Mrs. Brown have three married children and nine grandchildren.

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