Sow, Plant, Build

This season of late summer and early fall reminds us that we not only reap what we sow, but what others sow as well. The crops being harvested and the lawns and shrubs that have taken root are all the result of sowing and planting. They do not accidentally appear. They are the direct result of someone’s initiative, either this past spring or in years previous.

On Canada Day weekend, I was reminded in several ways that I reap what others have previously sown and planted. For instance, I spent those three days trimming hedges I did not plant. They stretch for a block and a half down two sides of our property. I’d have preferred golfing over hedge trimming on a long weekend. But years ago, someone decided that hedges were the best way to enclose our property, so trimming hedges was my recreation. To be fair, their decision to plant the hedge was a reasonable one.

I also enjoyed a good English breakfast on the Saturday morning. As I munched on my nice warm toast, I thought of how our food supply is dependent on those who sow seed, plant gardens and orchards, build barns, warehouses, refrigeration units, and all the other things needed to provide my Saturday morning breakfast. These are necessities we regularly take for granted.

On my hedge hacking, English breakfast weekend, I also worshipped with a vibrant congregation in two Sunday morning services. As I sat in the auditorium, I was struck by the fact that the majority of people there that morning had no connection to that congregation when the church was built in 1981 or expanded in 1999. They were enjoying the benefits of decisions made by people who were there before them.

The benefits of building always outlast those who make the decision to build, and who sacrifice to see the decision become a reality. We are the beneficiaries of the sacrificial investments made by those who preceded us. We sow, plant and build not primarily for our own benefit, but for the well-being of those who follow. Let me voice my appreciation to a “builder” generation that understood this principle.

Galatians 6:7-9 states, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. People reap what they sow. Those who sow to please their sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; those who sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

I was a young man when I first heard this passage. A fired-up evangelist was reading it, spit spraying from his lips as he emphasized the words deceived, mocked, sinful nature and destruction! While that negative side of the law of sowing and reaping is true, I can’t recall ever hearing an emphasis on the good harvest that comes from sowing to the Spirit. Yet that fact is just as clear in the passage. We will reap a good harvest in due time if we consistently sow seeds of the Spirit in our own lives and in the lives of others.

So what type of sowing, planting and building do we need to be doing today?

As individuals, I believe we need a new awakening to the principle of sowing and reaping. Spiritual disciplines such as reading the Scriptures, prayer, meditation, worship and service all sow in our lives the seeds of the Spirit. We set ourselves up for a spiritual famine if we do not take the time for these vital practices. When we build with material other than God’s Word enlivened by His Spirit, we end up with personal lives, families and even churches marked by a spiritual void. Implosion occurs because the right seed was not planted.

As churches, I believe we need a new awakening to the principle of sowing and reaping. Healthy bodies are active and they multiply. Even the early church had to be reminded to look beyond its own needs and invest in opportunities for the kingdom.

“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8).

I am thankful for an increased passion and initiative for church and ministry multiplication in various regions of our country. New disciple-making communities are being planted in Quebec, on college and university campuses, and in urban and rural contexts across the nation. Individuals are giving themselves to our shared mission in Canada and around the world. Seeds have been planted, and they are starting to come to life. Pray with me that we will be a people who know how to sow, plant and build to please the Spirit.

Creator God, You are the greatest farmer. You bring an abundant yield from the smallest of seeds. We are humbled that You invite us to be involved in Your harvest. Help us to be diligent with the tending of our lives, and as church communities help us sow to the Spirit and see the multiplication You desire. Amen.

- David Wells, General Superintendent

This article appeared in the September/October 2013 issue of testimony, the bimonthly publication of The Pentecostal Assembly of Canada. Visit www.testimonymag.ca.