“You sow, and you sow, and you sow, and much later you will reap.”
These words of life were spoken over me by an older friend of mine when I was a young mom to four children under five. The physical demands of rocking, holding, shushing, changing, and heavens to Betsy—the mealtime clean-up! There was never enough time to get all the spaghetti sauce off the baseboards nor pick every goldfish cracker up off of the floor.
My friend’s words stuck with me; during the exhausting days of new motherhood, the image of sowing seeds coupled with the hope of reaping filled me with joy while I served the Lord in my home. Her words gave me the big, long, biblical picture of discipleship.
God could use the seeds I was sowing with every wet wipe, every word of “Jesus Loves Me,” every ABC Bible Verse, and every sticky hand for His glory in the hearts of my children. I was sowing and making investments in the little disciples who filled up my lap.
As a pastor’s wife, I have been alongside many different people in ministry: Sunday School students, youth group students, young adults, and women of all ages and stages. Just as in parenting my own children, my tiny gospel investments have been human, exhausting, and imperfect—many times I have not gotten to see the end of the story—but thinking biblically about sowing and the One who does the reaping has given me the freedom to invest and rest as a kingdom laborer. God uses the tiny investments of ordinary laborers not because of who they are, but because He is the Lord of the harvest.
Discipleship is all about investing biblically and resting in the promises of a covenant-keeping God. He is faithful to His generational promise to redeem, deliver, and adopt the people He set apart before the fullness of time.
In discipleship, whether you are alongside your own children or involved in the life of another Christ-follower, the tiniest gospel investments are perfected in the big, long, biblical picture of God’s covenant promises to an imperfect people. God is the covenant-keeping God. He takes the tiniest, imperfect investments of covenant faithfulness and brings them to completion by His grace and mercy.
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).
Resting in Covenant Promises
My sinful heart is prone to wander to unrest, which causes weariness in the sowing. In the flesh I want to fix things, hurry God’s plan with my human helping, complete a task on a discipleship-program-year timeline, and see the end of the story wrapped in a bow and with a cherry on top. Like Abram and Sarai, I want to nudge along the redemption process and give God a little bit of my own help.
Unrest is earthly behavior but developing a posture of rest is heavenly. Resting in God’s covenant promises is a spiritual discipline. “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do” (Galatians 5:16-17).
In this life as a Christ-follower, you will sow, and you will sow, and you will sow, but much later you will reap. Much, much, later. Discipleship involves the spiritual disciplines of resting, praying, trusting, waiting, and hoping. With my own children, I may not ever see how God will reap the tiny seeds of covenant faithfulness I have sown in their lives, but I can rest confidently because God is faithful—even when I cannot see the end of the story—God has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass. “We look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). We can rest in God’s covenant promises as we hope in the reaping we may never see on this side of eternity.
To Those Who Sow Weeping
“May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy!” (Psalm 126:5).
Sowing is no easy task. Sowing is laborious. It can be dirty, uncomfortable, and even wounding work. But sowing is necessary. Christ-followers sow steadfastly through investing and resting because the Lord of the harvest is faithful and good.
As a fellow laborer in parenting and ministry, there have been many times when I have found myself sowing while weeping—even recently, simple tasks like going to the grocery store, cheering at a youth basketball game, or praying with my children through a difficult circumstance have all been tiny investments of covenant faithfulness sown with hot tears, wet cheeks, and a drippy nose.
“You sow, and you sow, and you sow, and much later you will reap.” Wherever the Lord has called you, invest biblically, and then rest confidently in the covenant-keeping God who takes the tiny investments of covenant faithfulness and uses them to display His glory in the world. One day God will redeem and restore all things by making everything new—this is gospel-hope worth resting in! For those who sow weeping—in the new heavens and the new earth—you will reap with shouts of joy.
About the Author:
Rachel Craddock is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University and a first-grade teacher at heart. She currently serves on the Committee on Discipleship Ministries (CDM) National Women’s Ministry team as a Regional Advisor. She is the author of Slowly Unraveled (CDM, January 2019) and a contributor to Hinged: Vitally Connected to Christ and His Church (CDM, January 2020). Rachel enjoys speaking and teaching—her heart is to encourage and equip leaders while weaving in the importance of the gospel in everyday life. Rachel is married to Michael (PCA Teaching Elder) and together they have four children: Ezra, Asher, Caleb, and Lydia Jane. You can connect with Rachel her blog, rachelcraddock.com.