Sowing and Reaping

Life Notes—July 1, 2010 

“Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow.  If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit…So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.”  Galatians 6: 8,10 

All spiritual leaders whose teachings have endured the test of time, at least those with whom I am familiar, draw strong distinctions between our physical and spiritual realities.  These are confusing distinctions because it is our physical reality that is most “real” to us, at least on earth.  We can see, touch, taste, smell and hear our physical world, but we can only consistently be assured of our spiritual world by faith.  Our physical world tells us to live for the day and to seize the moment and to go for the gusto!  Our spiritual teachers warn us not to give in to the temptations of the flesh. 

It can be confusing, difficult and frustrating.  What if the spiritual teachers are wrong and there is no world beyond this one?  What if I give up all these tempting indulgences of the flesh for nothing, with no chance of experiencing them again?  In his letter to the Galatians, Paul illustrates this theme with the familiar example of sowing and reaping.  Everyone understands a farmer who fails to complete the work of sowing his seed during planting time will have no crop come harvest time.  The fact that the farmer cannot see, touch or smell the harvest when sowing the seed does not change the reality that we cannot reap what we do not sow.  This is obviously true of our lives on earth, although few grasp how pervasive this reality actually is.  According to Paul and others, it is also true of our life beyond earth.  And not everything we sow on earth will be harvested on earth—some will be harvested beyond earth. 

Paul advises us to “work for the good of all.”  It is a fairly easy guide to remember, if not always so easy to follow.  I should ask myself, “How will what I am about to do affect the greater life around me?”  Before I actually do, say or eat something it might help to remember the lesson of sowing and reaping.  In spite of appearances to the contrary, we do not live our lives apart from the greater life around us.  What we do and say matters.  And sometimes the consequences of our actions will outlive our earthly existence. 

This Sunday Tom will be introducing our new associate pastor, Mitch Todd, at all four services.  Mitch will also be at the picnic at the west campus on Saturday, July 3 at 5:30.  I know you will want to get to know, or reacquaint yourself with him.  It is exciting to have Mitch back on the First Church staff.  Life worship begins at 10:45 in Brady hall.  Traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00 in the sanctuary.  Contemporary worship at the west campus is at 9:30. 

Come home to worship this Sunday.  Strugglers welcome!

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator

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