Bob Tamasy: "Your Reap What You Sow" - Is That Really True?

  • Thursday, December 7, 2023
  • Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

Most of us are familiar with the phrase, “You reap what you sow.” But have you ever wondered about what that means – or if it’s really true?

In one respect, it’s absolutely true. As I recently heard a speaker observe, “If you sow cabbage, don’t expect to reap carrots.” Although wouldn’t it be interesting if we could sow both cabbage and carrots together? We might be able to reap coleslaw!

However, in many cases it might be more accurate to state, “You reap more than you sow.” For instance, if you’re a farmer and sow a single kernel of corn, you still would expect to reap more than just one kernel of corn. Whatever we sow, we typically expect to reap a lot more of it.

The same applies to our actions and behaviors. As the adage tells us, “You attract more flies with honey than vinegar.” Galatians 5:22-23 lists what it calls “the fruit of the Spirit…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” If those characteristics are evident in our lives, it’s likely that we’ll encourage others to respond in like manner.

We might see a corresponding result when people fail to exhibit such godly traits. A few verses earlier, Galatians 5:19-21 offers this sobering picture: “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy….”

Those behaviors aren’t likely to cultivate an environment of peace and goodwill. It all depends upon which we choose to “sow.” As Proverbs 15:1 observes, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

We find this principle summed up succinctly in Galatians 6:8, “Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” Indulging one’s desires might seem like a good idea, but if not controlled they can in fact reap disastrous results. On the other hand, if our intentions are to please God, “denying self” as Jesus termed it in Luke 9:23, the outcome is much more than good deeds – it’s life for all eternity.

Recently I read an interesting verse that stated, “Light is sown like seed for the righteous and gladness for the upright in heart” (Psalm 97:11). We typically don’t think of light as a seed, or that it’s something we can sow. But we live in a world that seems increasingly dark. Up it seems has become down, and down has become up. When there’s great darkness, even the smallest light can make a profound difference.

Being in a predominantly agrarian society, one of the metaphors Jesus Christ often used was sowing seed. In the 8th chapter of the gospel of Luke we find Him telling His “Parable of the Sower,” using the image of seeds for the Word of God. In the story, some of a farmer’s seeds fall along a path, others fall on rocky ground, some fall among thorns, and others fall on good soil.

The path, rocky ground and thorns are not suitable for the seeds to take root and bring about life. However, as Jesus said, “Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown” (Luke 8:8). The first three “soils” represented people who heard but didn’t respond well to the saving Word of God.

Not so with the good soil: “But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop” (Luke 8: 15). If you’re a follow of Christ, you’re among those that experienced the Word of God falling on the good soil of your heart.

This for me raises two questions: First, what kind of crop am I producing? And second, am I willingly seeking to sow the seed of God’s Word in such a way that others might receive it and themselves retain it, find God changing their lives through it, and then beginning to produce a crop themselves, one that will last for eternity?

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Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly published, ”Marketplace Ambassadors”; “Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace”; “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” A weekly business meditation he edits, “Monday Manna,” is translated into more than 20 languages and sent via email around the world by CBMC International. The address for his blog is His email address is

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