Plant What You Hope to Reap!
SPRINGTIME is delightful! In many places, it marks the end of a cold, snowy winter. Flowers bloom in the spring and it is the season to plant. Plant what? Well, if a farmer expects to harvest corn, what must he plant? Rice? Of course not! He must plant what he hopes to reap.
Similarly, what an individual sows in word and in deed determines what he is going to reap in a figurative way. The Christian apostle Paul appropriately stated: “Whatever a man is sowing, this he will also reap.” (Gal. 6:7) So, if an individual desires to “reap” what is good, that is what must be planted.
Well, then, are we planting wisely? Will our words and deeds produce the good things we desire? Do we really plant what we hope to reap?
Happiness is what young married couples would like to reap. To do so, however, they must do some careful planting. What if they purchased a large home that was heavily mortgaged? Suppose they bought many articles of furniture on credit. The couple could start married life with many material possessions. But perhaps both the husband and the wife would then have to work full time, even overtime, to meet the extremely high monthly payments. Because of this and related responsibilities, likely they would be weary from overwork and would have little time for each other.
Due to unwise planting, the married couple may actually reap unhappiness.
Others have planted in hope of having financial security in later life. But note what happened to some people after World War I. One report says: “In Germany scores who had retired and were able to live comfortably on the income from 50,000 marks found at the peak of the inflation in that country that their entire hoard of 50,000 marks was not sufficient to buy a half pound of butter, so worthless was the money of that day.”
If a person desires to reap happiness and security, he needs to heed the words of Jesus Christ. He said: “Keep your eyes open and guard against every sort of covetousness because even when a person has an abundance his life does not result from the things he possesses.” To prove that point, Jesus spoke an illustration, telling about a rich man whose land produced so well that he intended to tear down his storehouses and build bigger ones in which to store his grain and good things. Then he was going to take his ease—eating, drinking and enjoying himself. However, Jesus added: “But God said to him, ‘Unreasonable one, this night they are demanding your soul from you. Who, then, is to have the things you stored up?’ So it goes with the man that lays up treasure for himself but is not rich toward God.”—Luke 12:15-21.
To be “rich toward God,” a person needs to place primary emphasis on spiritual things. Through the prophet Hosea, Jehovah God put matters this way: “Sow seed for yourselves in righteousness; reap in accord with loving-kindness. Till for yourselves arable land, when there is time for searching for Jehovah until he comes and gives instruction in righteousness to you.” (Hos. 10:12) God was speaking to his wayward people of the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel, counseling them to do what was right. Following God’s way, they would be sowing or planting in righteousness. If they did that, what could they hope to reap? The loving-kindness of Jehovah God!
The same thing is true in everyday human relationships. What can a person expect to reap if he customarily is cruel to others? As the Bible states, “the cruel person is bringing ostracism upon his own organism.” Conversely, the same proverb says that “a man of loving-kindness is dealing rewardingly with his own soul.” (Prov. 11:17) Whereas the cruel individual stirs up enmity against himself, the one who shows others loving-kindness treats himself well, for he enjoys their goodwill.
Supposed pleasure and satisfaction are sought by some people who plant in accord with selfish desires, without concern about doing what is righteous. Author Samuel Butler once wrote: “Everyone has a mass of bad work in him which he will have to work off and get rid of before he can do better . . . We must all sow our spiritual wild oats.” But will a person reap true pleasure and satisfaction if he ‘sows wild oats’?
Perhaps a man has chosen a life of sexual irresponsibility. What might he reap? True pleasure and satisfaction in life? Notice what the Bible indicates: “She [a prostitute] has misled him by the abundance of her persuasiveness. By the smoothness of her lips she seduces him. All of a sudden he is going after her, like a bull that comes even to the slaughter . . . until an arrow cleaves open his liver . . . and he has not known that it involves his very soul.” (Prov. 7:21-23) The liver, as well as other organs, may be attacked by syphilis, and death can result from this venereal disease. But even if a person living immorally does not reap some fatal malady, his course is disapproved by God. The apostle Paul declared: “Do not deceive yourselves: no fornicators, idolaters, or adulterers, no sodomites . . . will inherit God’s kingdom.”—1 Cor. 6:9, 10, The New American Bible.
With good reason, then, Paul—who said one would reap what one sowed—went on to say: “Because he who is sowing with a view to his flesh will reap corruption from his flesh, but he who is sowing with a view to the spirit will reap everlasting life from the spirit.” Earlier, the apostle had enumerated the fruits of God’s spirit as love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness and self-control. (Gal. 6:8; 5:22, 23) Obviously, anyone cultivating and displaying such qualities will reap the goodwill of his associates. He will also enjoy God’s approval.
Any wise person would want to plant in a way that would enable him to reap what is good. Do you desire everlasting life in happiness and security? Then acquire accurate knowledge of God and his Word, the Bible. Said the divinely inspired psalmist: “Who, now, is the man fearful of Jehovah? He will instruct him in the way that he will choose. His own soul will lodge in goodness itself, and his own offspring will take possession of the earth.”—Ps. 25:8, 12, 13.