Question: I 1000% disagree that what you plant, you harvest. Why do so many people do good with bad results or do bad and are constantly blessed?
There are several ways to answer your question. Each answer is a little different, but all are true.
- There is the idea of what it means to have bad results. As Christians, we believe in the idea of God controlling ultimate justice. There are eternal consequences, both good and bad, for our actions here on Earth. In the end, we are subject to God's judgement. (See Psalm 1: “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked...but his delight is in the law of the Lord...for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”) Blessings are not derived from health, wealth or earthly success, but by knowing and living with and for Christ. John 17:3 talks about eternal life in knowing Jesus. If we envy the wicked, we are being shortsighted. 2 Corinthians 4:17 says that the suffering of the righteous is nothing compared to the weight of glory.
- Often, when we think about God giving us good and bad things, we tend to think of people being either good or bad. We say, why do bad things happen to good people and why do good things happen to bad people? The truth is, none of us are good people. We are all sinners, and we all deserve death and hell. But we are saved by God's great grace and mercy. Romans 5:8 states: “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” All of the good in our lives is already from God, and God loves all of us, even those who have not accepted Christ.
- The idea that we reap what we sow is more the idea that if we treat others well and with love, then that often comes back to us in the form of love and friendship and seeing good happen to those we care about. Those who live lives that are selfish and uncaring may still gain fame and fortune, but they will drive people away from them. Eventually, people will see through someone and will know a snake when they see one.
- Often, the Bible actually presents two sides of the same issue. The “reap what you sow” concept that Josh talked about last week is a great example of this. Some parts of the Bible (like Proverbs) speak heavily toward justice here and now on earth. The basic premise of Proverbs is that if you make wise choices, you will be blessed in this life. This is the basic “rule of life,” the way life normally operates. If you eat well and exercise, you are probably going to be pretty healthy. However, if you eat pizza and icecream while watching TV all day, you’re going to need a fork lift to get out of bed by the time you’re 50. You reap what you sow. However, other books of the Bible speak more to the “exception to the rule.” Sometimes, even if you do everything right, you’ll still get cancer and die at 30. Sometimes, life simply isn’t fair. Ecclesiastes is a book that goes more in this direction. Both are true. There are definitely basic principles for wise and healthy living, but just like English grammar, there are always annoying exceptions to the rules.
(Answered by Matt and Josh)