With regards to the law of the harvest that we have already considered, there is an important principle to learn: all life (as we now know it) comes from antecedent life. In other words, we reap only what has been sown.

What we reap was planted either naturally or purposely, either by God or by man, and for either positive or negative results. This aspect of the law of the harvest—that we reap only what has been sown—has both positive and negative sides.

The negative side: We reap the wrong that others have sown.

  • We reap a certain amount of wrong inherited from our parents.

Exodus 34:6–7 speaks of God “visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.” Decisions parents make have an impact upon their offspring for generations. When parents sow the seeds of iniquity, their children are often the ones who reap the ill-effects. A selfish decision made in a moment of time may play itself out over generations.

  • We reap the wrong of foolish and corrupt leaders. 

Proverbs 1:29–32 says, “The prosperity of fools shall destroy them.” We are already reaping the consequences of living above our means.

  • We all reap the sin of Adam and we pass that along to our children. 

Here is the unbending law stated: Adam sowed a seed of rebellion, independence, disobedience, and the whole of humanity felt the pain. Romans 5:12: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” What a miserable harvest! Look at the misery often experienced in just one life, not to mention the misery of multitudes of homes and nations.

The positive side: We reap the good that others have sown. The gospel is rightly described as an inheritance. As God’s children we are reaping the sowing of another, the work of our Saviour. Recall how the Lord once warned His people about bragging about the fact that they were self-made. He said in Deuteronomy 6:10–11 that their possessions were; “great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not.” There are many benefits that we can look to, that are the harvest of good seed sown:

  • Temporally. Any honest study of Western civilization must admit that the blessings we have enjoyed in the Western world of freedom, of law, of ministering to the suffering, the poor and the like, are all the by-products of Christianity and our godly heritage. It has been said that South America was settled by the Spanish, who came to that land in search of gold, but North America was settled by the Pilgrim Fathers, who came in search of God. That is what made the difference.
  • Spiritually. The Christian daily reaps what was sown by Jesus Christ; because He lives, we too shall live. We have entered into His labors. He has sown and we are reaping. Glorious harvest! His body was sown in the ground and He arose as the first-fruits, a token of the whole harvest.

Do we realize the far-reaching implications of our choices on the lives of others—our children, family members, co-workers, and friends? What kind of a harvest will your sowing today leave for others to reap?