There’s a Biblical principle called sowing and reaping. I think it’s probably more than simply Biblical, as if it only applies to Christians, I think that it’s how God designed things to work. In modern terms we might simply say “the more you put in, the more you get out.”

We see this at work everywhere. We see it at work when we save money in a CD. We see it at work in our jobs. If I work well, and contribute much to an organization, I should reasonably expect I’ll get more fulfillment, better promotions and more money as a result. We see it at church. The more people there are putting their hands to the plow, the higher the quantity and (hopefully) quality of impact that church should have. It’s really very simple.

The point of tension comes in the decision of what we should sow our time, talent and treasure into. Those are the three main categories of ‘stuff’ God gives us to make decisions with. Recently, my family made the decision to cut back on television. We decided that, given the current state of our finances and the current national economic conditions, we didn’t need to be ‘sowing’ our time and treasure into that electronic-moving-picture-brain-sucking-zombie-creating box and paying for the services necessary to run it. As a result, we’ve freed up treasure and we’ve freed up time that we can now sow into other things.

Often we don’t see the results of our sowing immediately (besides sometimes God uses our sowing for someone else’s reaping; see John 4:36-38, also the example of the church above). And that can be tough, but this is also a Biblical principle as well. Our culture focuses so much on right now, my way, right away (like that snotty little twerp, Veruka, from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory), but Biblically we should be living in light of our last day. The apostles Paul and Peter hammered this all through their letters. Pressing on toward an ultimate goal is how Paul explains it. Like a runner training for a race, so that he might finish well. In addition we see this principle at work in the parable of the ten virgins and the parable of the talents. Sowing faithfully, waiting faithfully, reaping joyously. Or not.

I don’t know if my family will see any short-term, instant gains as a result of shutting the TV off, but some things I can point to as a direct result of this one decision are:

  1. More relaxed evenings in our home.
  2. Less noise and confusion at the end of the day.
  3. More time spent talking around the dinner table on nights that I’m home.
  4. I’ve seen more books open around my house.
  5. The girls practice their violins without feeling like they’re going to miss Phineas and Ferb.

Not everything is all hunky-dorey and peaceful. We still have stresses. We still feel rushed; like we’re a couple of steps behind the pace of our lives, trying to catch up. Shutting the TV off doesn’t fix everything, but I wonder what other decisions we might make along these same lines that will together add up to reaping a harvest of righteousness, peace and joy as we sow more and more into God’s Kingdom and less into ours. Living in light of the end so that our last day will be so much more glorious than our first.

Sow for God, Reap for God.