‘Sow Bountifully, Reap Bountifully’
“He that sows sparingly will also reap sparingly; and he that sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”—2 CORINTHIANS 9:6.
1. Why is Jehovah God the happiest individual in the universe?
OUR God Jehovah is “the happy God.” No doubt one reason is that he is such a bountiful Giver. His Son, Jesus Christ, explained: “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” (1 Timothy 1:11; Acts 20:35) No one has given more than Jehovah has—from the bringing forth of his only-begotten Son, the Logos, down to the present time. So without the shadow of a doubt he is the happiest individual in the entire universe.
2, 3. (a) In what ways has God sown bountifully? (b) Why can it be said that Jehovah has reaped and will yet reap bountifully?
2 A somewhat similar principle is enunciated at 2 Corinthians 9:6: “He that sows sparingly will also reap sparingly; and he that sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” How bountifully Jehovah God has sown as to his works of creation! His Word tells of hundreds of millions of spirit creatures. (Revelation 5:11) Note also the countless galaxies in the stellar heavens, each consisting of thousands of millions of stars. When we come down to this earth, what an infinite variety of things, animate and inanimate, Jehovah God created! Surely ‘the earth is full of his productions.’ (Psalm 104:24) Moreover, how bountifully he has endowed us in our mind, in our senses, and in our body! Truly we are “wonderfully made.”—Psalm 139:14.
3 There is no question about it, Jehovah God has sown bountifully. This is so not only in his works of creation but also in his dealings with his earthly creatures. Has he, though, reaped bountifully? Indeed he has! In what way? In that he has had, is having, and will yet have ever so many intelligent creatures who serve him out of love. Their doing so makes Jehovah’s heart glad, especially as it proves the taunting Devil a liar.—Proverbs 27:11.
4. How has the principle of 2 Corinthians 9:6 applied at all times, including our own time?
4 The Bible contains abundant testimony that, beginning with the Logos, many faithful servants of Jehovah God have likewise sown bountifully and reaped bountifully. This is just as it should be, since Jehovah’s principles apply at all times and to all individuals. Hence, the principle about sowing can prove true in your life.
5, 6. (a) What foes make it difficult for us to sow bountifully? (b) What must we be willing to do, and in what aspects of our sacred service?
5 While the Scriptures abound with reasons and examples for our sowing bountifully, it is by no means an easy thing to do. Why not? Because we have three foes that strongly oppose our doing so. First, there is our own inherited tendency toward selfishness. We read at Genesis 8:21: “The inclination of the heart of man is bad from his youth up.” God’s Word also informs us that the human heart is treacherous and desperate. (Jeremiah 17:9) Second, we have to contend with pressure from the wicked world, which lies in the power of the wicked one. (1 John 5:19) Third, the Devil himself who is ready to devour us if we are off guard.—1 Peter 5:8.
6 Are you constantly alert to those three foes? Because of these opposers, we should be eager to ‘listen to counsel and accept discipline, that we may be wise in our future.’ (Proverbs 19:20) In fact, we must do as the apostle Paul did, ‘pummel our bodies and lead them about as slaves,’ lest we lose out in the end. (1 Corinthians 9:27) The principle that if we sow bountifully we will reap bountifully applies to all the various aspects of the sacred service engaged in by all Christian witnesses of Jehovah. Yes, look where we will, we find that this principle applies: in our personal study, in our meeting attendance, in our prayers, in our witnessing formally and informally, and in our family relationships.
Sowing Bountifully as to Bible Study
7, 8. (a) To sow bountifully as to our personal Bible study, what must we have? (b) What goals should we set, and how can we attain these?
7 To be fruitful ministers of Jehovah God, we must first sow bountifully as to our personal Bible study. We should want to have a keen spiritual appetite, appreciating that we do not live by material things alone. With all the cares and activities of daily life pressing in on us, it takes conscious effort to be keenly aware of our spiritual need. (Matthew 13:19) It truly would be fine for us personally to have the appreciation for God’s Word that the psalmist had when he wrote: “I am exulting over your saying just as one does when finding much spoil.”—Psalm 119:162.
8 A definite aid in this is our heeding the counsel to ‘keep strict watch that how we walk is not as unwise but as wise persons, buying out the opportune time.’ (Ephesians 5:15, 16) You might even want to apply a check on yourself in this regard. Ask: Do I arrange my affairs to make time to read each Watchtower and Awake! magazine as it comes out? What about the Yearbook, as well as the bound books and other literature that we get at conventions? We may not always be able to find an hour or two for reading these, but by being alert we can gain a few minutes here and there to read a Bible chapter or a magazine article. Not a few Christians arrange to get up 10 or 15 minutes earlier each day so as to read when they are most alert. Others find that they can get much reading done while traveling on public transportation. What about you?
9. How may we reap bountifully as to our personal Bible study?
9 By sowing bountifully in these ways, we can also hope to reap bountifully. How? In that we will have a stronger faith, a brighter hope, and a happy and positive frame of mind. More than that, we will be better equipped to witness to others. We will be able to contribute to wholesome conversation and to help our brothers as opportunity affords. Notice from 1 Timothy 4:15, 16 what the outcome may be.
Sowing Bountifully as to Meeting Attendance
10. What should be our attitude as to our meetings?
10 You might ask: Does this principle of reaping bountifully if we sow bountifully apply also to our attending congregation meetings? Most assuredly! We should feel like the psalmist David when he said: “I rejoiced when they were saying to me: ‘To the house of Jehovah let us go.’” Yes, we should feel drawn to meet with our brothers.—Psalm 122:1.
11, 12. How can we sow and reap bountifully as to attending our meetings?
11 What does that require of us? It means regularly and faithfully attending our five weekly meetings, not letting a little inclement weather or a slight physical indisposition serve as an excuse for staying home. How often do we find the weather—hot or cold, wet or dry—interfering with meeting attendance? Yet, the more obstacles we have to overcome to attend, the greater the blessing Jehovah seems to bestow upon us. We can also sow bountifully by coming early to have encouraging conversation before meetings, then lingering afterward for the same purpose. How do you personally measure up in this regard? Should you try to sow more bountifully? Preparing well for the Watchtower Study and the other meetings is involved too. The reason for this is that we may sow bountifully by commenting as opportunity affords.
12 In what ways can we hope to reap bountifully from this? We cannot make an encouraging remark without being encouraged ourselves; we cannot cheer up a depressed soul without having our own hearts lifted up. Yes, we cannot express ourselves by a comment at meetings without strengthening our own faith in the truths we utter. It is simple: “The generous soul will itself be made fat, and the one freely watering others will himself also be freely watered.”—Proverbs 11:25.
Sowing Bountifully as to Our Prayers
13, 14. How may we (a) sow bountifully, (b) reap bountifully, as to our prayers?
13 The Scriptural principle of sowing bountifully applies also to our personal prayers. Are our prayers stereotyped, mechanical, repetitious, or do they really come from the heart? Do they include not only petitions but also heartfelt praise and thanksgiving, and, on occasion, supplication? Do we really take seriously the precious privilege of prayer? Do we pour out our hearts to our heavenly Father? Or do we rush through our prayers, at times even being too busy to pray? The Christian Greek Scriptures show that prayer was prominent in the lives of Jesus Christ and the apostle Paul.—Luke 6:12, 13; John 17:1-26; Matthew 26:36-44; Philippians 1:9-11; Colossians 1:9-12.
14 To the extent that we sow bountifully as to our prayers, to that extent we can hope to reap bountifully by Jehovah’s answering them and by our having a good relationship with him. Family prayers serve to draw the members closer to the one offering the prayer. Let us keep in mind also Jesus’ words at Matthew 7:7: “Keep on asking, and it will be given you; keep on seeking, and you will find; keep on knocking, and it will be opened to you.”
Sowing Bountifully as to Our Ministry
15. Where especially may bountiful sowing and reaping be enjoyed?
15 Perhaps nowhere is our theme more clearly apparent than in connection with our witnessing. Obviously, the more time we can devote to it, the more likely we are to reap in the way of interesting experiences, fruitful return visits, and productive home Bible studies, resulting in living letters of recommendation.—2 Corinthians 3:2.
16, 17. (a) Sowing bountifully as to the field service requires what of us? (b) Doing so, what results can we expect?
16 Sowing bountifully as to the field ministry, however, is a matter not just of quantity but also of quality. We want to “be aglow with the spirit” when sharing in the ministry. (Romans 12:11) We ought to approach people with freeness of speech, with a warm, friendly smile. That applies whether we are going from house to house or we are sharing in street witnessing. If it is available in our language, our new witnessing aid Reasoning From the Scriptures should help all of us to become more efficient, and so be more fruitful, reaping more from the time and energy we spend in the ministry.
17 And does not sowing bountifully as to our field ministry also mean being conscientious to note where we have found interest? Linked to that is our accepting the obligation to call back and cultivate that interest to the point of starting a home Bible study if at all possible. More than that, we must be careful to build with fire-resistant materials. This means that we teach with conviction, yet with empathy and discernment, skillfully drawing out the Bible students as to how they feel about Bible principles. Only by sowing bountifully in these respects can we hope to produce Christian personalities that will be able to resist the onslaughts of Satan and his system of things.—1 Corinthians 3:12-15.
Sowing Bountifully as to Family Relationships
18. What counsel should we keep in mind regarding our family relationships?
18 The theocratic principle that we reap according to the way we sow applies likewise within the family circle. Here we can bear in mind Jesus’ words at Luke 6:38: “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.”
19. How can husbands and wives sow bountifully and benefit thereby?
19 There are so many opportunities that husbands and wives have to sow bountifully by affectionate deeds of thoughtfulness and unselfishness! The apostle Paul gives fine advice at Ephesians 5:22-33. Please read these verses while thinking of how you can sow more bountifully. To the extent that a Christian wife is truly submissive, cooperative, and supportive, to that extent she is likely to reap bountifully. In what ways? In the ardor and appreciative affection of her husband, he being moved to love her as his own body. Similarly, to the extent that a Christian husband exerts himself to show the consideration urged at 1 Peter 3:7 and the unselfish love highlighted at Ephesians 5:28, 29, to that extent he can hope to reap as to his wife’s submissiveness and loyal support.
20. How can bountiful sowing be applied to the rearing of children, and with what results?
20 Nor should we overlook our responsibility in rearing our children in the discipline and mental-regulating of Jehovah. (Ephesians 6:4) Actually, this comes ahead of other theocratic duties and privileges. Sad to say, this is a principle that has been overlooked by some Christian parents. On the one hand, parents must be willing to sacrifice pleasures and comforts for the sake of their children’s emotional and spiritual well-being, spending a reasonable amount of time with them and showering love upon them. On the other hand, parents□ must show firmness. They are counseled: “Chastise your son and he will bring you rest and give much pleasure to your soul.” Sow in these ways, and you will very likely reap bountifully by having integrity-keeping children who respect you and feel close to you.—Proverbs 29:17.
Be a Reaper of Benefits!
21, 22. In what various ways can we sow and reap bountifully as to our sacred service and our family relationships?
21 We see, therefore, that the principle that we reap according to the way we sow applies in all aspects of Christianity. If we sow bountifully as to our personal Bible study, we will reap a strong faith, a bright hope, and preparedness for our ministry. If we sow bountifully as to our meetings, we will have our own faith strengthened, and we will strengthen the faith of others. If we sow bountifully as to our prayers, we will reap a good relationship with our heavenly Father and have our prayers answered. And if we sow bountifully as to our witnessing, we will benefit personally, and we can hope to have letters of recommendation to show for our efforts.
22 Likewise, let us never forget that this principle applies to our family relationships. By sowing bountifully in loving consideration and acts of unselfishness, we as husbands, wives, parents, or children can hope to reap a family life that is bountiful in rewarding association and experiences. It will also give a good witness to those on the outside, recommending our way of life.
23. We do well to heed what counsel?
23 So let each Christian witness of Jehovah ask himself or herself: Could I sow more bountifully? Paul’s words at 1 Thessalonians 4:1 are quite pertinent: “Finally, brothers, we request you and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, just as you received the instruction from us on how you ought to walk and please God, just as you are in fact walking, that you would keep on doing it more fully.” Yes, indeed, let all of us try to sow more bountifully so that we may reap more bountifully, to Jehovah’s honor and to the blessing of ourselves and our brothers.
Points for Review
◻ How does Jehovah God exemplify the truth found at 2 Corinthians 9:6?
◻ What can you do to reap more bountifully regarding Bible study and Christian meetings?
◻ How can you sow and reap more fully as respects the field service?
◻ What practical steps might help your family to sow and reap more bountifully?