Sow the Right Seeds
By Chris Rathbone
Garden season is well underway for those of us who attempt to grow our own taters, maters, beans, etc. It’s been a little bit of a struggle to get the garden going here in the mountains, for me anyway. A couple of late cooldowns in the weather seems to have slowed things a bit with keeping the ground temps lower. This growing season we have elected to wait and plant later in hopes the harvest will come in after we return from our planned vacation this summer. We don’t like being away from home knowing some beans need to be picked!
Growing up here in the mountains planting a garden was of necessity and not just a hobby. Our family depended a lot on what was grown and harvested in our gardens. Dad and Mom put a lot of hard work in through the growing season which also meant that we kids were right there with them for the most part. I’ve spent many long, hard days behind an old front tine tiller trying to help Dad plow up the garden spots on those steep hills around our house. To be honest, I never really looked at it as a hobby, enjoyable, or even satisfying. Let’s just say it wasn’t my favorite summertime activity! For us kids, it was hard to look ahead to how much we would enjoy the fruits of our labor in the winter when we just wanted to be off playing somewhere. Between our garden and my grandmother’s, there was a lot of tater digging, corn shucking, stringing and breaking beans, canning, etc, going on in the holler! While the labor wasn’t all that enjoyable, the eating made it tolerable.
Every year when it’s garden time we begin preparing the soil early. After cleaning off the garden spot it has to be plowed and tilled to make the soil soft and manageable. I usually put some lime and fertilizer on mine, till it under and let it set in the soil for a couple of weeks before planting. I plant by the moon phases as stated on my gardening calendar. Someone else smarter than me came up with that! And sometimes I just plant when it’s dry and time is available. Every year while working and planting it seems the Lord always brings to my heart what He says in His Word, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” Gal. 6:7-8
There is a fundamental truth that applies not only to the physical side of life but also speaks to the spiritual state of man. In the physical, when you or I plant a certain kind of seed in our garden, we labor with the expectation that come harvest time what we planted is what we will reap. There are three rows of potatoes in my garden and come fall when its time to dig, Lord willing, when I turn those rows up, “taters” will roll out of them. The beans that will be planted will produce beans, tomatoes will produce tomatoes, squash seed will produce squash, etc. There will be squash, cucumber, lettuce; all these seeds, with the Lord’s blessing, will yield the same as what was sown. We do not harvest corn from bean seeds. We cannot harvest potatoes from a squash plant. This principle truth is pretty well accepted in the physical. The concept that the seed that is sown in the ground will yield the same come harvest time is simple yet profound. However, for some reason, this same truth is abandoned in the spiritual side of life.
As Christians, the Bible is teaching us that if we expect to reap a spiritual harvest in our lives, we cannot sow fleshly seed. This should be a simple truth but for some reason, many have a hard time grasping it. How often over the years in ministry have I sat and counseled with someone who has lived to satisfy the sinful desires of the flesh. The decisions they have made have shown no desire to please God, to live according to His word, or even acknowledge His Lordship over their lives. They have sown fleshly seed and are reaping the consequences of destruction. When they are confronted with this truth, they often get upset, defensive, and angry. They say things like this, “How could God let this happen to me if He loves me?” We sometimes do the opposite of what God desires of us and then blame Him for the outcome. They are harvesting what they have sown. When we sow to satisfy sinful flesh, we reap the consequences that come with it. We become deceived in believing that somehow that truth doesn’t apply to us. We are the exception to the rule, that won’t happen to us.
The opposite is also true. When we sow to the Spirit, we reap a Spiritual harvest. Our relationship to Jesus, prayer, Bible study, worship, obeying God’s Word, etc; all are Spiritual seeds that we can sow with the expectation of reaping Spiritual fruit. We will get out what we put in. As we labor to sow into our lives what God desires of us, we can with joyful expectation look forward to the harvest of Spiritual blessings. Today’s sowing is tomorrow’s harvest.
As you are working in your garden this spring and summer, you are looking forward to reaping what you planted. Let it be a reminder to us all that as we labor to serve our Savior, as we strive to live a life that brings glory to Jesus, that the kind of seed we sow into our life is the harvest we will reap. Let us sow Spiritual seed that leads to everlasting life. If we sow the right kind of seed in our lives, we will reap the right kind of harvest!
Preacher Chris Rathbone serves as Pastor at Mine Creek Baptist Church.
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