Reap what you sow

Many people in America lately speak about ‘keeping their faith to themselves’ for fear of retribution or social exclusion. We live in constant fear that our faith will be used against us. This fear is well founded considering the nightly news. It might be well founded but it leads to isolation.

Brethren, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work. As it is written, “He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures for ever.” He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your resources and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for great generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.

2nd Corinthians 9.6-11

In today’s reading from 2nd Corinthians, Saint Paul lays out the expectation. We will reap what we sow. Most people see this verse and think it means that if we are mean to others, they will be mean to us. That is true, but it is only part of the picture. It also can mean that if we keep our faith to ourselves, there will be no faith in others.

A seed must be sown in the ground to produce fruit. If the seed is kept above grown it will eventually rot and die. For the seed of faith to produce fruit in others it must be spread to others. This is impossible when we keep our faith to ourselves.

The result when we keep our faith to ourselves, and do not spread the seed, is total isolation. Imagine a lone fruit tree putting out beautiful blossoms every year but not a single bee to pollinate the flowers. The petals fall to the ground and not a single fruit is produced. Eventually the tree will die, and the field will be left barren.

Now take that same tree and imagine a swarm of bees descending upon its blossoms. Before you know it, the bees are gone, and fruit appears. The tree is not afraid of the bees, though they may have stingers, because without the risk of stingers, there is no fruit. The same is true for us.

We cannot go through life paralyzed by fear that the bees will sting us. We must risk social exclusion and retribution so that our faith can spread. The more we open up and allow the seed of our faith to spread, the more fruit of faith will be produced in our society. If we lock up the seed, by keeping to ourselves, it will eventually rot and die. The result is we die alone, having never given fruit to God’s faith. Something to think about.

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