A year and a half ago, I like many, had to make a career change, and for me that meant going back into the secular world professionally. For thirty-six years I pastored a church. Then at age sixty-two my life did a one-eighty and I found myself in the midst of COVID’s quarantine unemployed. Now for many of you reading this you may or may not know persons working for the church can’t draw unemployment if they lose their job. What is a sixty-two year old who is about to embark on a new career going to do in the middle of a pandemic? To say I was a little concern about how I would provide for my family is an understatement. It wasn’t that I doubled God, or questioned His providential care over our family. What I questioned was myself. What did I have to offer that God could use to multiple? I wasn’t sure I had two fish and five loaves of bread.
The past eighteen months have been filled with adventure and miracle multiplication after another. Our family has faced some of our biggest storms but God has faithfully been there through them all. God has made the rough places smooth and brought more than enough where there appeared there wasn’t enough. God has been more than good to us, and each and every day I receive as a gift from Him.
This new season I have had the opportunity to meet many interesting people. I have gotten to know some of them personally. I have made new friends, have had opportunities to share my faith on occasion, pray with some, encourage others. I have walked in the valley with some and on the clouds with others. As I ponder my own life and reflect on the lives of so many I know I have a new appreciation for something the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Galatia. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. People reap what they sow.” Galatians 6:7
In our language that sounds a little harsh. It even has the tone of a threat from God, but that is not what the Apostle Paul was stating. The Apostle Paul is reminding us of a law that will work for our good and/or for our bad depending on what we sow.
The past eighteen months I would say I have seen this law at work many, many, times over. This wisdom didn’t come from the Apostle Paul. It came from Christ. Throughout his teaching, Christ taught this law. And here is a thought: perhaps this law is the good news of the Gospel. Perhaps this law is the salvation message. Perhaps God saw his creation lost in bad thinking and bad behavior and thought I have to save them before they destroy what good they might have.
Here is how the law goes as I have witnessed: The dishonest person sows deceit and people learn to not trust that person. But here is what motivated Christ to teach this valuable lesson - not only is the dishonest person not trusted, but in their heart they believe everyone else is dishonest and lies to them. They can’t recognize the truth when they hear it. They sow dishonestly and they reap a life of distrust.
The person who cheats and takes advantage of others will in turn have relationships where others will cheat them and take advantage of them. The person who steals will have others stealing from them. I cannot overstate the emotional bondage we put ourselves in when we sow evil. When we sow evil we will reap evil. If you plant weeds you don’t reap wheat.
This law also works in the positive. The person who is honest and tells the truth can be trusted. But more importantly, the person who is honest recognizes truth and deceit when they hear it. The person who is kind and who treats others with respect will themselves find respect. And when someone doesn’t respect them it doesn’t cause their life to go off track. They know the difference between self-respect and others not knowing the law of respect.
What if the message behind this law is to SAVE YOURSELF! What if the teachings of Christ were as much about salvation for HERE AND NOW TODAY, as they might be for eternity. What if Christ message of do’s and don’ts, and warnings to save yourself were about finding salvation in your everyday life today. Is it possible we could change our life for the better simply by putting into practice the teachings of Christ? ABSOLUTELY! Is it true that if we ignore such divine truth we could reap a harvest we don’t want? It would appear so. That is what salvation is all about. Learning to follow Christ is putting his teaching into practice to save our lives today from the miserable mistakes we might otherwise make.