Sowing and Reaping - Part 2
“Thought” is the “seed” while “intent” the purpose. Picture this as “thought” being the outer coat of the seed while “intent” is the life contained within it. Our thoughts are a reflection of our intentions and our intentions are the core essence of all that we do in this world of form. For this reason, Hebrews 4:12 tells us that “the word of God is LIVING and ACTIVE, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the THOUGHTS and INTENTIONS of the heart” (ESV). Hebrews goes on to state, “And NO CREATURE IS HIDDEN FROM HIS SIGHT, but ALL ARE NAKED AND EXPOSED to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” “No creature,” my friends, meaning no exceptions. His Word is relevant to everyone, not just believers.
Should anyone doubt the efficacy of this divine principle, consider that Paul wrote, “For his (God’s) invisible attributes, namely, HIS ETERNAL POWER and DIVINE NATURE, have been CLEARLY PERCEIVED, EVER SINCE THE CREATION OF THE WORLD, IN THE THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN MADE. So they,” i.e. man or humankind, “are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20; ESV).
Once planted, a seed requires time and certain conditions in order for it to germinate and bring forth the life contained within it. Certain fruit trees require several seasons before they mature to the point where they produce fruit, so, “times” and “seasons” are essential to development and must be viewed through the lens of sowing and reaping (1st Thess. 5:1). “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man,” i.e. anyone, “sows, that he will also reap.” This being true, much of what we see today was sown many generations ago, long before you and I were even born. Much of what we are reaping today is a product of those who came before us.
When we realize that thought is the “seed,” then we must also realize that new seeds are sown every single moment of every single day. Perhaps the most powerful example of “sowing” is the media, consisting of print, radio, television, internet, and Social Media. Never in the history of the world has it been easier to push our thoughts to others through all the available avenues. It goes without saying that this is both good AND evil, for as we know, not everyone has the right intentions. Sadly, there are far too many who relentlessly push their wicked agendas forward without regard to the long-term effects which follow. No doubt, this is lack of foresight due to ignorance or indifference. Google defines “foresight” as, “The ability to predict or the action of predicting what will happen or be needed in the future.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “foresight” as, “An act of looking forward.” Far too often, we fail in foresight.
It has been said that “the eyes are the window to the soul.” According to the teaching in the Parable of the Sower, “seeing” equates to perception. Google defines “perceive” as, “Become aware or conscious of (something); come to realize or understand.” One of the Google definitions of “perception” reads, “A way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression.” As we see, perception is a matter of the mind, but we must never forget that behind every thought there is intent, so we cannot consider thinking without taking into account the intention behind it.
One of the greatest enemies of “foresight” is alluded to in the following passage.
Proverbs 27:20 (NIV)
20 Death and Destruction are never satisfied, and neither are the eyes of man.
According to this proverb, man’s “sight,” whether literal or inward, is “never satisfied.” As it stands, any society where there is great abundance and prosperity, eventually becomes more and more established on the idea of instant gratification, one of the greatest enemies of foresight. What I want NOW is the PRIORITY, regardless of what it means for future generations. Due to our insatiable desires to have everything now, we have pushed our moral boundaries further and further out, not realizing where it will lead in the days, months, and years ahead. As all of us have seen and experienced, there are a great number of collectives clamoring for their rights on a regular basis, unable to discern that their so-called rights do not include a right to be wrong. When the moral fiber of a nation is compromised, it only propagates “death and destruction.”
As believers, we should recognize that “death and destruction” are not always physical. Suicide is a prime example of what I mean where death and destruction work within, oftentimes without any awareness on our part.
Another enemy of “foresight” is TRADITION. Consider what Jesus said to the religious leaders of His time.
Matthew 15:3, 6-7 (ESV)
3 He answered them, "And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? … 6 So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. 7 You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: 8 "'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; 9 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' "
In the light of Matthew 15, tradition can be considered as those concepts which have been handed down to us by past generations, most often through family, but also through society at large. As Matthew 15 shows, religion is not exempt from the deceptiveness of tradition. In fact, religion is probably one of the most susceptible due to the fact that most everyone believes in a “higher power.” No doubt, it’s our desire for answers to the spiritual aspects of this “higher power” which leads us to search and eventually embrace the various religious organizations and denominations of our time. On the surface, this may appear good and right, however, when tradition enters in, it can often stymie our spiritual growth. The Lord made this evident in the Parable of the Sower.
Matthew 13:13-15 (ESV)
13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: "'You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive. 15 For this people's heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.'
Note where it reads, “For this people’s heart has grown dull.” This suggests a condition which develops over time, which starts and continues to the point where we no longer recognize that we are essentially thinking like everyone else. This is the power of a collective.
Years ago, I posted a saying on my website—“We’ve been cultured to think inside the box but designed to think outside of it. Don’t be afraid to question anything.” My friends, I truly believe this, for it has always been the forward thinkers, both secular and religious, who possess the courage to question the “status quo,” who eventually bring the greatest change into our lives. The Lord Jesus was one such person, who, despite the persecution He received from His own people, persevered in executing the perfect will of our heavenly Father. Is it any wonder then that most could not understand His position? Do we not see that they were so deeply entrenched in their traditional vein of thought that they could not perceive someone whose thinking was so directly opposite?
Beloved, in light of the current Coronavirus epidemic, take time to consider your mental and spiritual stance and what you are sowing to others. Is it fear or faith, hopelessness or courage? Are you worried or calm? And finally, do your actions align with your faith? Allow me to finish with the following from 1st Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 13:1-8 (NASB95)
1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails…