Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Psalm 126 Law of Sowing and Reaping

KEY TEXT: Ps 126:4-6 Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like streams in the Negeb! Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

KEY THOT: What we sow, we will reap: this is the law of nature and also the law of God: “Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!" So Paul also affirms in Galatians 6:8-9, "For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up”. If we sow bad seeds of the flesh (apathy), we reap a bad harvest of spiritual death (decline and backsliding); but if we sow the seeds of the Spirit (gospel), we shall reap the harvest of spiritual life (growth and spiritual maturity). 

If we want our fellowship, or CG or congregation to grow, we cannot ignore this principle of sowing and reaping: we reap what we sow. Paul tells us not to grow weary in doing good—for in due season we will reap. So, in the context of the church’s mission (evangelism), we have the confidence that if we keep on sowing the seeds of the gospel as an on-going ministry (e.g. Alpha), we shall reap the harvest of souls, It is inevitable that the church will grow according to this law of sowing and reaping: “He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him” (Ps 126:6). God's law cannot be violated. 

But sowing seeds is hard work—it will bring sweat and tears: "those who sow in tears" (v.5a). If we don't have the hope of harvesting, we will find sowing burdensome and back-breaking. The old school song we sing speaks of this reality: "Planting rice is no fun, bent from morn till set of sun". But those who sow in tears will ultimately "reap with shouts of joy" (v.5b). It's now common to hear Christians speak of "resting"; it's a mistaken teaching based on partial reading of Jesus' invitation to us to "come to me and I will give you rest" (Mt 11:28). It ignores the second verse which says, "take my yoke upon you" (Mt. 11:29). This yoke that Jesus asks us to take upon ourselves is his yoke of ploughing and planting. If we tell a Christian farmer that all he needs to do is "rest" and God will do all the hard work of sowing and reaping, he would probably think we are from another planet. The psalmist tells us that though we sow in tears, we shall "reap with shouts of joy, bringing in the sheaves" (v.6). And when we take on Jesus' yoke of ploughing and planting, we experience a new power that gives us a sense of rest in the midst of toiling: "For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me(Col. 1:29). This paradoxical truth that God works within us with his energy as we toil for Him is something that only those who have struggled for God understand. Those who are "resting" on the pews will never experience this truth.

But the reward of sowing the seeds of the gospel is guaranteed, for no church that is faithful in sowing the gospel has ever failed to grow. And the best part is the congregation will grow not at the expense of the other congregations of Christ, but at the expense of the congregations of Satan. And such churches are always filled with joy as they continually celebrate the home-coming to the Father of lost souls under Satan's rule. May all churches who have embarked on the Alpha run for this season experience this joy of harvesting. May they all grow at the expense of Satan's kingdom.

Father, You have given us this eternal law of sowing and reaping. Thank You that as we sow the seeds of the gospel in the church, the church will grow. Amen.

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