By Judy Brandon: CNJ religion columnist
An illustration that I remember my preacher father using during his ministry is a good lesson on reaping what one sows.
The story goes that a farmer in a rural area posted a “No Trespassing” sign on one of his fields because some rambunctious neighbor boys had been cavorting on his land, trampling his crops. When the sign went up, one of the high strung teens in the group was so furious that he made a vow to get back at the farmer.
The boy with his youthful imagination and quick temper devised a plan. One night he sneaked onto the farmer’s farm and sowed Johnson grass seed in a large area of the farmer’s prized field.
The farmer thought his problem with the boys was solved. A year or two went by and the young boy who had sowed the seed, started to date. He dated several girls but when he encountered a beautiful farm girl that lived somewhat close to his family’s farm, he soon fell in love. He courted her and when he had won her heart, they began to talk about marriage. Soon the two set a wedding date and they made plans to start a life together. But there was one irony. It turned out that the young man’s wife to be was the only child of the old farmer who owned the field where the young man as a rambunctious teenage boy had sowed the Johnson grass seed.
The boy and farmer’s daughter married and two years passed. During their second year of marriage, the girl’s father died leaving the farm to his only daughter and her husband. The story goes that the boy, now a married man with an inherited farm, spent the rest of his farming career fighting the Johnson grass that he had sowed on that night long ago as a teenager!
The lesson: Seed always reaps its own kind and it reaps in abundance. That is not only a physical law (like the Johnson grass) but a spiritual law well. Many times people do things in their youth and think it is an act so insignificant and so removed from them that they will never are touched by that act. Yet, even in the midst of regret and repentance, the consequences can follow us for a lifetime.
It sad that some people lead lives of selflessness and self-centered and then reap an old age of loneliness because of a life of selflessness and self-centeredness. It is sad that some people sow a life of immorality and reap the consequences of that immortality far into old age, if they live that long. It is sad that some people do business with dealings that are questionable and then one day there is a reckoning and it comes back to haunt them. It is sad that one might be haughty to someone and then years later, realize that that very person is the only one that can help in their time of need.
Jesus said that “I am the Vine and ye are the branches; He that remains in me and I in him will produce much good fruit, for without me, you can do nothing. (John 15:5) That tells me that if we stay connected to Christ, we will sow love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance and produce in abundance the same. In Him, there is no room for maliciousness or envy or anything else that would cause harm to us or others.
That is the lesson for me from Daddy’s Johnson grass illustration.