Sow Bountifully and Reap Bountifully
THERE is a saying, “The more you put into a thing, the more you will get out of it.” However, that adage sounds better than it really is. How many have sunk more time, energy and money into a certain project than have others, only to reap less because “time and unforeseen occurrence” befall all men? But the rule stated by the apostle Paul when writing the fleshly-minded prosperous Corinthian Christians applies invariably: “He that sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he that sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”—Eccl. 9:11; 2 Cor. 9:6.
Why? Because what the apostle Paul had in mind was not a reward in material possessions but one of a superior kind—the reward of the ‘blessing of Jehovah that makes rich and to which he adds no pain,’ and the ‘greater happiness that comes from giving than from receiving.’—Prov. 10:22; Acts 20:35.
Note also that in the Scriptural principle the emphasis is not on quantity but on quality. A person may give much and yet be giving sparingly; a person may give little and yet be giving bountifully. That is why the apostle in this connection observed: “For if the readiness is there first, it is especially acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what a person does not have.”—2 Cor. 8:12.
Into whatever field of human relations and endeavor we may look the rule applies that he who sows bountifully reaps bountifully. It applies to relations between neighbors, between employer and employee, between storekeeper and customer, and so forth. As Jesus showed: “Practice giving, and people will give to you. They will pour into your laps a fine measure, pressed down, shaken together and overflowing. For with the measure that you are measuring out they will measure out to you in return.” Not that this will follow in every single instance; there are some very selfish individuals, but “people” will, for that is the general rule, generosity being contagious, even as niggardliness is.—Luke 6:38.
How this principle applies in the family circle! Mates who sow bountifully in time, in tenderness, thoughtfulness, affection and patience will find their mates doing the same, and those who sow sparingly in these respects will reap sparingly. Parents that sow bountifully as to time, interest, patience, love and discipline, will reap bountifully in having children that make their hearts glad. No doubt a basic cause of juvenile delinquency today is the unwillingness of parents to sow bountifully in regard to their children by sacrificing personal pleasures in order to give them the time, attention and affection they need to develop into persons of integrity.—Deut. 6:5-7; Eph. 6:4.
Certainly this principle applies to the field of learning, to personal study. The student that sows bountifully of time and energy in diligent study will reap bountifully in a mind full of knowledge and a good report. The same is true in the Christian ministry. If one applies oneself diligently, wisely buying out the opportune time for Bible study by setting aside regular times for it, perhaps even reading when traveling or when waiting for others or for buses or trains, one will become “a workman with nothing to be ashamed of, handling the word of the truth aright.”—2 Tim. 2:15.
Even in the matter of prayer this principle of sowing bountifully and reaping bountifully applies. Are our prayers sparing, as to scope or content, or are they bountiful in both respects? If we sow bountifully in prayer, thinking of others besides ourselves and our immediate families, and if we continue in prayer, fully expressing ourselves instead of rushing through it in a mechanical way, then we too can hope to reap bountifully in the blessing of Jehovah. That is why we are admonished to “pray incessantly,” and to “persevere in prayer.” Yes, “do not be anxious over anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving let your petitions be made known to God, and the peace of God that excels all thought will guard your hearts and your mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.”—1 Thess. 5:17; Rom. 12:12; Phil. 4:6.
Also, this Scriptural principle of reaping as we sow applies to the teaching profession, to the educational career. An educator, schoolteacher or university professor that gives sparingly to his students or pupils will not find satisfaction in his work. But the one that gives bountifully of his time, his strength, his interest, and of himself, will reap bountifully, in appreciation from them and in seeing their progress, if not also getting a promotion.
This is especially true of the greatest of all teaching professions, that of the Christian ministry. To the extent that a Christian minister sows bountifully the seed of God’s truth in the hearts of the people in the neighborhood where he ministers, he will reap bountifully. And if he is studying the Bible with someone and shows himself bountiful as to his interest and time spent with such a one—perhaps even paying a short visit from time to time on days other than the one set aside for study—he can hope to reap bountifully.
This principle may well explain why at times a congregation publisher whose obligations permit him to spend only a limited amount of time in the service may have more fruits to show for his labors than one who has more time to spend. Sowing bountifully, he is wholehearted in all that he does; he takes a keen interest in the people in his territory—following up all not-at-home calls and making return calls wherever there is a spark of interest. Those with whom he conducts home Bible studies sense his sincerity and feel the urgency of acting on what they learn. They soon attend congregation meetings and join him in the service. The results reaped from such unstinting service are bountiful.
Let all, therefore, sow bountifully in every field of human relationship and endeavor. Doing so, they will certainly reap bountifully, if not in kind, certainly in spiritual blessings.