Monday, November 15, 2010

Do I Have to Reap?

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard the phrase "you reap what you sow" in my life. Even as a kid I think I got the main idea behind that phrase. But, in recent contemplation on the use of that phrase in Galatians 6, in several gospels (or the same general idea), and a few old testament stories I am now wondering if maybe I only take a half-hearted view of reaping/sowing.

The traditional view of "reap/sow" goes like this: if you make a bad (ungodly) decision then you have to deal with the negative consequences of that decision. If, on the other hand you make a good (godly) decision, you get to enjoy the good results of that decision. I indeed think that is the crux of the Biblical use of the phrase for sure. However, looking at it from the wrong perspective, as I now see I have mostly done, sets us up for MASSIVE disappointment and depression.

If I look at my decisions and expected consequences of those decisions from the normal, earthly (makes sense since I live here after all) perspective, then I REALLY want this verse and all like it thrown out of the Bible. Seriously, I want NO part of this idea if you tell me it applies to my earthly life. Why? Let's see, free will of EVERYBODY on earth means this reap/sow idea doesn't play well with my making Godly choices. Example: Joseph (guy with the colorful coat) does the Godly thing and runs from the seduction of Potiphar's wife. The result? He gets thrown in prison. Does that sound like he reaped according to what he sowed? Not to me. It sounds like to me that Joseph suffered and unjust harvest at the discretion of Potiphar. And this is just the kind of reaping/sowing that gets so many people to wonder "how can God let bad things happen to good people."

Granted, in time, God worked for Joseph to bring him out of jail and into a powerful position in Egypt. After three years (YEARS) in jail, Joseph finally got a just ruling from God. But that is just the kind of perspective issue I am talking about here. TIME. I want this reap/sow thing to work in MY time, not God's time, which is to say time versus eternity. If we look at reaping according to what we sow with a temporal perspective, we will forever be disappointed. God does not put a time constraint on our harvest. He doesn't even say our harvest will actually come during our life on earth. Nope, He just promises we WILL get a harvest based on what we planted.

As is the case with many Biblical principles, our perspective on the issue is as important as the text itself. We must always approach Godly things with a Godly perspective. Otherwise, we are setup for a confused and painful life. With a Godly, rather than a human perspective we can find contentment, joy and hope that is promised in the Bible.

Oh, and the whole "I want this verse thrown out" comment earlier. IF the idea of reap what you sow IS supposed to be a promise based on our human/earthly view, then to me it is just entirely not working at best. It's flat out false, a lie at worst. So, if that is the case, then it's better that it just isn't in there. BUT, it is there. And, again, fortunately it does NOT have any hint of human time or earthly perspective associated with it. Don't buy it? Go back and read ALL of the passages in the gospels where Jesus uses this concept and see what he is talking about. Or, look at Stephen and the "reaping" of the apostles. What did they reap? It certainly wasn't "good" according to man's view, but they reaped amazing harvests in God's view.