We Harvest what we Plant

“If you sow to the flesh you will reap from the flesh, reap corruption. But if you sow to the Spirit you will reap from the Spirit, reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:8).

Sowing and reaping are not things most of us are really familiar with, let alone sewing and weeping. So, what does it mean to sow? To sow means to plant seeds. 

What does it mean to reap? To reap means to gather, to harvest what was planted.

If a farmer plants corn what do they collect at the end? They gather corn. Whatever we plant we harvest. You can’t plant beans and expect wheat to grow. That’s not how things work.

In life it is the same way. What we plant we gather. Where we work is where we get paid. What we sow we reap.

In this verse, we see that in life there are only two types of seeds to plant. There are only two options of things that we can harvest at the end. 

We can plant towards the flesh, that is, we can just care about and live for our physical and material life. What, however, is the end of all physical life? It is death and decay. It is corruption. It is decomposition. If we live merely for the flesh we don’t get a very good return on our work.

If we plant towards the Spirit the harvest is much different. At the end, there will be eternal life. And because this is the case, we have huge motivation to continue planting towards the Spirit. Because we will reap at the appointed time if we don’t give up (Gal. 5:9).

What does it look like to sow to the Spirit? In Galatians 5 we see that if someone is caught doing wrong, we should work to restore them with gentleness (v. 1). We are to help others out and carry one another’s burdens (v. 2). We are to share with others what God has entrusted to us (v. 6) and work for the good of all (v. 10). That’s some of what it looks like for us to plant for the eternal harvest that awaits.

It’s important for us to see that all this talk of the Spirit and of eternal reward in heaven does not take us away from others and practical deeds of love. No! It renews our motivation to continue to labor in love because we know we are planting for an eternal harvest. 

That is good news and it’s motivating. It must be remembered that all our labor cannot make us right with God and even if we foolishly sow to the flesh that doesn’t put us beyond all hope. 

Galatians tells us that we are not made right with God by works but by trusting in Jesus. We are given unmerited kindness and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ because He gave Himself for our sins to rescue us (Gal. 1:3).

I love this verse because it sums up in a clear and simple way what we are to live for and why. Let’s sow to the Spirit and keep in mind the eternal harvest that awaits and let’s see the utter foolishness of sowing to the flesh. 

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About Paul O'Brien

I am a lot of things; saint and sinner. I struggle and I strive. I am a husband and father of three. I have been in pastoral ministry for 10 years. I went to school at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary but most of my schooling has been at the School of Hard Knocks. I have worked various jobs, including pheasant farmer, toilet maker, construction worker, and I served in the military. My wife and I enjoy reading at coffee shops, taking walks, hanging out with friends and family, and watching our three kid's antics. :)

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