Scripture uses a lot of different images to convey God’s truth, especially agrarian ones. Paul writes in Galatians, “A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”(6:8) Like this, Jesus told the parable about two kinds of seed being sown in a field, good seed, and weeds. (Matthew 13:24f) We have our salvation by the pure grace of God through our faith in Jesus Christ, but our growth comes by sowing good seed. That seed is God’s Word, and our hunger for a deeper understanding of who our gracious God is. And like our need to eat regularly, so we have the real need to be fed spiritually every day. Scripture, prayer, and worship are our daily food. We use a variety of images, but the same truth remains. As we sow to the Spirit we reap eternal life.
If we are serious about wanting to grow in our Christian faith, and our relationship with our Lord, we sometimes get discouraged about the lack of progress, or about not being able to meet what we see as God’s requirements in Scripture. Life, at times, seems to be one step forward and two backwards. This was the same struggle that the great Apostle Paul expressed in Romans chapter seven, saying, “The good I want to do, I don’t, and the evil I don’t want to do is just what I do. …. wretched man that I am.” But we must always remind ourselves where chapter seven ends. Paul understanding God’s wonderful love and grace in Jesus Christ, exclaims, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” We are God’s work in progress. We make many mistakes, sins, wrong turns in life, but we are not rejected. In repentance we are forgiven, and begin anew. We are not condemned, and God will complete His good work in us.
We had a pastor friend of our conduct a seminar for our congregation over the weekend. At one point he compared the Sunday worship service to a basketball game. He said that we go to the games over and over. The player do the same thing every time, play on the same court, by the same rules, but we never get bored, and we keep coming back. He was looking at the objection of some that church gets boring because we do the same thing over and over each week. Some might argue that in the game there is the thrill of the win, and the increase in the national standings, but there is in church as well. There is the thrill of hearing that our sins are forgiven, we are clean and acceptable to the Lord, and we grow each week in the grace and knowledge of Christ. This is a joy greater than an ball game can provide.
Fruit is good. We are told that we should eat a serving of fruit each day for our health. We also speak of fruit in other ways, a fruitful life, or a fruitful days work. Scripture speaks of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22 and 23, the characteristics of life that are pleasing to God, and good to others. The writer of Hebrews speaks of our praise to God as being the fruit of our lips. (13:15) He follows this by saying, “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” We are reminded that as fruit is good for the health of our bodies, the fruit of our lives is good not just for ourselves, but for those around us. We want this day to accomplish the necessary things, but also to be useful for those around us. Let this be a truly fruitful day.