“A man reaps what he sows” is a biblical truth reflected in this often-heard poem, which shows clearly how little things add up to big things: Sow a thought, reap an action. Sow an action, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny.
This simple yet profound principle is the key to understanding today’s passage. It also undergirds the behavioral exhortations of verses 1 through 6, and highlights the importance of building godly character, a theme that runs throughout chapters 5 and 6. People who act as if this principle were not true mock or sneer at God (v. 7). They think they’ve gotten away with something, that God doesn’t see, that there will be no consequences to their actions, or that they’ve somehow outwitted Him.
The principle of sowing and reaping is true in both its negative and positive forms (v. 8). Hosea 10:12–13 says: “Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love. . . . But you have planted wickedness, you have reaped evil, you have eaten the fruit of deception.” Those who sow “to please their flesh” or according to the sinful nature, reap “destruction” or damnation. Those who sow “to please the Spirit” or according to their freedom in Christ, reap eternal life and individual rewards.
Therefore, “Let us not become weary in doing good” (v. 9). In fact, let’s do all the good we can to all the people we can, especially fellow believers (v. 10). Why might we “become weary” or lose heart or become discouraged? Because the way is often full of difficulties and temptations, and sometimes the reward of eternal life can seem very far away. But if we’re consistent and persistent in doing good, “we will reap a harvest”!
Apply the Word
What might happen if we went through the next 24 hours with the attitude of verse 10? Let us intend to do as much good as possible to as many people as possible, especially fellow believers. We should accompany this intention by prayer. According to Scripture, we should think of doing good to others as a sacrifice of praise to the Lord (Heb. 13:15–16).