May 8, 2019

Sowing and Reaping 

By: Larry Shaffer

This pic is with our grandsons in Maui last week.

Folks, my schedule has been especially busy recently and is going to continue for a little while. The time it takes to write, edit and post 5 days a week has been a little challenging. I’m going to post Monday, Wednesday and Friday for awhile to catch my breathe. Thank you for reading and thanks to many for the kind and encouraging emails.

God bless, Larry

Sowing and Reaping 

Genesis 42 

Joseph, lesson 19 

The full effect of the famine has set in. Jacob has sent his sons to Egypt to purchase grain. They came before Joseph, who was the master over the distribution of the storehouse of grain. 

But Joseph had recognized his brothers, although they did not recognize him. Joseph remembered the dreams which he had about them, and said to them, ‘You are spies; you have come to look at the undefended parts of our land.’ Then they said to him, ‘No, my lord, but your servants have come to buy food. We are all sons of one man; we are honest men, your servants are not spies.’ Your servants are twelve brothers in all, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and behold, the youngest is with our father today, and one is no longer alive.’ 

Joseph said to them…by this you will be tested: by the life of Pharaoh, you shall not go from this place unless your youngest brother comes here! …So he put them all together in prison for three days. 42:8-17. 

The day of reckoning is here. The sowing of wickedness will eventually reap the consequences of justice. The full circle of irony has arrived: 

  • The brothers who mocked Joseph when they were told they would bow down to him, are now bowing down before him. 
  • The brothers who listened to Joseph’s fearful pleading when being sold into slavery are now pleading in fear to Joseph.  
  • The brothers who sentenced Joseph to prison by selling him to foreigners are now sent to prison by Joseph in a foreign land. 
  • The treacherous brothers who sold Joseph into slavery, faked Joseph’s death and lied to their father are now claiming to the lord of Egypt, “we are honest men.” 

The principle of sowing and reaping is simple, but not necessarily easy. It is a spiritual principle, to be sure. But it is a holistic principle as well. Sowing and reaping has corresponding consequences, whether good or evil; physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. The earlier we learn this in life, the better. In my old age, I’m compelled to say again, the earlier we learn this in life, the better.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while who have opportunity, let us do good to all people and especially to those who are of the household of the faith. Galatians 6:6-10 

There have been billions of dollars spent by people looking for life coaching and success principles from Dale Carnegie to Zig Zigler to Tony Robbins. A lot of the material is good. Nevertheless, there is so much more eternal and earthly value by simply receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior and then diligently applying the guidance of Galatians 6:6: -10. Sow the Fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) and do good. The power of simplicity in action is: 

  • Galatians 1-4 – The pure gospel: receive Jesus by faith 
  • Galatians 5 – The Fruit of the Spirit given and explained 
  • Galatians 6 – Tie it all together by sowing and reaping accordingly. Do good. 

The story of Joseph is the narrative and Galatians gives the instructions. The billion-dollar success industry was built on the principles of Galatians 5 & 6. These principles always and ultimately work in the physical world, the mental world and the spiritual world. But the success industry leaves out Galatians 1-4. The foundation key for eternal success is wrapped up in the simple gospel. It begins with receiving Jesus by faith. Then sow the fruit of the Spirit and the abundant life will follow! This will have positive effects on your eternity as well as value in this life.

Lord, You have given us everything we need. Everything for life eternal and everything for an abundant life of serving, giving and doing good comes from You. May we avoid the example of Joseph’s brothers and instead follow the instructions from You in Galatians! Your instructions are sweet and not a burden. May we soak our lives in them and live. Amen!