Sowing and Reaping - Part 6
In contemporary terms, “sowing and reaping” can be defined as “cause and effect.” Wikipedia states, “Cause and effect is the principle of causality, establishing one event or action as the direct result of another.” Regarding “causality,” Wikipedia states, “Causality (also referred to as causation, or cause and effect) is efficacy, by which one event, process or state, a cause, contributes to the production of another event, process or state, an effect, where the cause is partly responsible for the effect, and the effect is partly dependent on the cause. In general, a process has many causes, which are also said to be causal factors for it, and all lie in its past. An effect can in turn be a cause of, or causal factor for, many other effects, which all lie in its future. Some writers have held that causality is metaphysically prior to notions of time and space.”
Note the words “event,” “process,” and “state.” Also consider where it states, “In general, a process has many causes, which are also said to be causal factors for it, and all lie in its past. An effect can in turn be a cause of, or causal factor for, many other effects, which all lie in its future.”
For each of us, the “event” is the principle of sowing and reaping which incorporates “many causes” or “causal factors” that in turn, bring us to a particular “state.” Google defines “state” as, “The particular condition that someone or something is in at a specific time.” Simply put, all of us move through this principle and are affected daily by its implementation. The purpose of this principle is to bring all of us to a mature state, a fruitful state, if you will, which again agrees with our Creator’s edict in Genesis 1:28, “Be FRUITFUL, and MULTIPLY.” As it is in the natural, so it is in the spiritual. Maturity or fruitfulness requires many times and seasons (Matt. 16:3; Luke 21:24; Acts 1:7; 1st Thess. 5:1).
It’s important to understand that everything has a “beginning,” which can be likened to a “seed,” thus the principle of sowing and reaping or cause and effect is universal in its scope; none are exempt and everyone participates on a regular basis. Simply put, there are consequences for every action we take. This being true, it’s remarkable to see just how far we must go before we awaken to the fact something needs changed, that despite the fact that it was done this way in the past, it was never really all that effective or beneficial in the first place. We simply keep doing it this way because it was “handed down” or “sown” to us by those before us. We know this as “tradition.”
Matthew 3:7-10 (NKJV)
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, "Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, 9 and do not think to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
When John the Baptist came as a forerunner of Christ, we see him approached by the religious leaders of his time. Immediately, John declares, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance.” Is John referring to their religious “sowing and reaping”? He is, and he goes on to say, “Do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’” Beloved, this same attitude often prevails in Christianity where many obstinately stand against each other due to their commitment to their labels, leaders, and religious dogmas.
Let’s be raw and honest here. Anyone who takes time to read the four gospels concerning Christ and the kingdom of God, cannot easily walk away with a complete understanding in short order. Why? Because the Lord’s teachings and responses to the religious leaders of His day were often quite puzzling and perplexing in their delivery! As an example, consider what Jesus told Nicodemus, a “ruler of the Jews” (John 3:1; ESV).
John 3:9-12 (ESV)
9 Nicodemus said to him, "How can these things be?" 10 Jesus answered him, "Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
Here Jesus told Nicodemus about being “born of the Spirit” (John 3:1-8). What did Jesus say to this “ruler of the Jews”? “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?” Then notice how the Lord follows! “If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?”
Let’s face it, brothers and sisters, we are not nearly as spiritually adept as we think we are, especially in the realm of “heavenly things.” The truth is, we are but “children” in understanding when it comes to the principles and teachings of the kingdom of God. This, my friends, is why “tradition” gets us, and what many of us fail to understand is that many of our religious traditions do not remain because they are correct, but simply because they have been sown into our minds for so long by the generations that were before us! Don’t believe me? Then reconsider what Jesus said to the religious leaders of His time.
Matthew 15:3 (ESV)
3 He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?”
Matthew 15:6 (ESV)
6 … So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God.
What were the religious leaders guilty of? Not only breaking the commandment of God but making “void the word of God” for the sake of their traditions! Have we done the same in our day? If we are humble enough to admit it, we will be forced to confess that we have! Case in point? Consider Christmas and the teaching of “Lucifer.” Both are gross errors propagated by religious denominations long before you and I were ever born!
In contemporary thinking, Jesus was a radical, so opposite the religious leaders of His time that they hated Him, persecuted Him, and eventually succeeded in delivering him to the Romans for crucifixion! Yet, God in His omnipotence and omniscience determined this beforehand. Jesus knew this as evidenced by the following.
Matthew 16:21-23 (ESV)
21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, "Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you." 23 But he turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man."
Let’s face it! Can we even imagine knowing such a thing in advance? No, for as we see, the disciple Peter was quick to respond to the Lord’s instruction with, “Far be it from you!” “This shall never happen to you,” and this despite the fact that he witnessed firsthand how the religious leaders opposed Him from the very start! Is there a lesson in this? How can there not be? That being said, let me conclude this part with what Jesus followed with immediately after He rebuked Peter.
Matthew 16:24-28 (ESV)
24 Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life (or soul) will lose it, but whoever loses his life (or soul) for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life (or soul)? Or what shall a man give in return for his life (or soul)? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. 28 Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."