“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:7-9 (ESV)
When I started working at the children’s home there was a man named Jerry Tucker on staff. By that time Jerry was working full time in the kitchen, but he had been a pastor before coming to the children’s home and had been a houseparent before moving into the kitchen. He had a great relationship with the kids, and I think one of the things he enjoyed most about working in the kitchen was that he had the opportunity to interact with all of the kids. Jerry used to talk to the kids all the time about the Law of the Harvest. When one of them would be in trouble for something or have an unpleasant consequence occur because of something that they had done he would simply say, “Law of the Harvest!” It did not take the new kids long to know that while Jerry might empathize with them, he wasn’t going to excuse their choices or let them try to get off the hook, either. He wanted them to learn as quickly as possible that there was rarely anyone else to blame but themselves for the results of their choices.
The Law of the Harvest comes from Paul’s letter to the church in Galatia, specifically in the verses quoted above. It is a lesson that is important for young and old alike, and it is applicable at every age and stage of life. Every action or choice has a consequence. We tend to think of “consequences” as negative, but a consequence is basically a synonym for result, and if there were no result to a choice there would be no point in making the choice. One could even argue that if there is not a difference of consequences pending then there is in reality no choice to be made. So the two go together. From an early age parents teach children about the Law of the Harvest, though rarely in those words, of course. As soon as they are mobile children are taught where they can and cannot go, what they can and cannot touch, and so forth, and typically they are told and/or shown what the consequences of their choices will be. Sometimes, of course, parents make every effort to make a choice for their children, realizing it is much better in the long run to eliminate a choice than to allow the child to reap the harvest of sticking a fork into an electrical outlet.
As we grow up, the number of choices we have to make the weight of the consequences for those decisions only grows. Sure, there are relatively insignificant choices to make each day like whether to have toast or cereal for breakfast, whether to wear khakis or corduroys, whether to have the mashed potatoes or the macaroni and cheese. But there are choices with far more serious consequences, too. The hope of every parent is that their children have been trained and equipped to make those decisions carefully and wisely, and that they will seek help and advice from intelligent and mature individuals, not just whoever is around or whatever seems popular.
Young people don’t always make good decisions. Let’s face it, not-so-young people don’t always make good decisions, either. Whatever our age, though, we must not be surprised when our not-so-good choices yield not-so-pleasant results. Paul says God is not mocked; in other words, God will not allow us to make stupid decisions and not experience the results of those decisions. Sure, sometimes we don’t get caught the first time or even the one hundred and first time, and sometimes we feel like there have been no negative results to our choices. That’s not because God doesn’t see or care or know, it is simply that, like a harvest, some seeds take longer to produce their harvest than others. Paul says that whatever we sow, we will reap.
Thankfully, we serve a God Who is able to transform our harvest from something worthless to something good. He is able to equip us to plant new seeds that produce new crops than the ones that come from sowing in the flesh. But He will not forcibly replant our crops for us; we have to yield to Him, to want to do things His way. Unless and until we do, we need to remember the Law of the Harvest…what we sow, we will reap.