Sowing and Reaping
A Study of Galatians 6:6-10
Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all [men], especially unto them who are of the household of faith. [Gal 6:6-10]
The first point in this section of the scripture is a communication between the student of the Word and the teacher of the Word. This term “communicate” is the Greek term κοινωνέω (koinōneō), which has the thought of fellowship, partnering together, sharing, working together. It could have the idea of financial support, but this is not necessarily the only meaning. Coming off of verse 5, where we are reminded that every man shall bear his own burden, we should remember that the teacher bears a great burden, and from verse 2 that we should all bear each others burden, thus fulfilling the law of Christ. Again, it could be financial support, but it could be helping to carry other weight. It could also be encouragement, or just something as simple as friendship. That is a wonderful aspect of grace. We have many ways to show kindness to each other and to support each other, and none are left out.
Before moving on from this idea of sharing between the teacher and the student of the Word, we should be reminded of the way that Paul did not insist on support from the assemblies he ministered to, even though he let them know that he had the right:
If we have sown unto you spiritual things, [is it] a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? If others be partakers of [this] power over you, [are] not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live [of the things] of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for [it were] better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void. For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation [of the gospel] is committed unto me. What is my reward then? [Verily] that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel. [1Co 9:11-18]
Paul would rather not exert his right over the assemblies and work with his own hands than to even give the indication that he was living off of them. His desire for the Corinthians was not their gifts to him, but they themselves:
Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. [2Co 12:14]
Paul did love how the Philippian assembly communicated with him and was thankful for their gifts to him and their support:
Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction. Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. [Phl 4:14-17]
This communicating with him was the evidence that they were bearing the fruit of the good news of Christ. They were sowing to the spirit, and they were reaping fruit unto life everlasting. Paul had ministered to them, and saw their generosity as fruit he was reaping unto life everlasting. The Philippians’ sowing was Paul’s reaping. His wishes for the Galatians was the same joy and the same fruit. This fruit does not come from law-keeping, but it comes from a heart transformed by Christ through the gospel. It is grace showing itself in grace. Just as we are forgiven by grace (Eph 1:7) and forgive because of grace (Eph 4:32), we give by grace with the motive being the grace given to us.
As we move on from “sowing” as communication to others, we come to sowing to the flesh and reaping corruption. Now one may be tempted to speak of liberty in Christ as license to do anything he pleases. Scripture never makes such a claim:
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? [Rom 6:1-2]
Rather, we are told that because of our place in Christ, and because of the grace that we have been shown in Him, we are to walk in newness of life (Rom 6:4). This newness of life has no room for the works of the flesh, and if we walk in them, we will reap corruption. There is nothing that the flesh accomplishes that is of any worth. It will all see corruption. Whether it is trying to perfect our old nature by fleshly means or to walk as a Christian by fleshly means (law-keeping), it will all only reap corruption. The best of it will all die when Adam, the old man, dies. That does not even account for the manifest works of the flesh in chapter 5, verses 19-21. It is evident that all of those lead to corruption, often sooner rather than later. Just think of all of the sins and sinful behavior that leads to death, and remind yourself that the wages of sin is death. If that is what we sow, we should not be surprised at the harvest.
We are well aware that planting is a difficult task without an immediate reward. That may be why farming is not an attractive occupation to many. The work is hard, the days are long, and the reward…delayed.
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
But the farmer knows there is a harvest coming, and works diligently that it may come to pass. He prepares the soil, plants the seed, irrigates it, gives it the proper nutrition, makes sure that sunlight is not impeded in his field, and he waits. And waits. So the Word reminds us here that we should not expect instant gratification, but we should be faithful in our service toward our Lord and toward others. God is faithful, let us be faithful to Him.
With faith in our God’s faithfulness, we can do good unto all, especially to the household of faith. That should be remembered when it comes to prioritizing the importance of things. We cannot do everything, but the Lord did not leave us a list. He just gives us our priorities for well doing. And since it is as we have opportunity, we do not have such a long list of things to do. It is “what we can”. This also does not give us a time to say that we are done. We have opportunity as long as we are on this earth-til our Lord catches us away! The opportunities are always a blessing-let us take them when we can!
Charles Miller View All
Husband, father, engineer...Enjoys fishing, archery, guitar, running, and lifting, but most of all reading and studying God's Word.
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