What Goes Around

Sam Petitfils

"From the fruit of his mouth a man is satisfied with good, and the work of a man's hand comes back to him."  Proverbs 12:14

Some students look forward to report card day.  They have dutifully done their homework, listened in class, and followed directions.  They have not skipped out, or just gotten by.  They look forward to the day of their just reward. Others, however, dread this day.  They have put forth little effort, not completed homework, and treated their schoolwork with contempt.  They do not look forward to report card day.

In life, we can expect to receive back what we have put forth.  In fact, God sets this up as a fixed pattern, and with few exceptions brings back our behavior to us, whether good or bad.  The righteous person, who seeks God’s face, honors His name, and desires to please Him, may expect rich blessings from God, even in this life. The backslider, who skimps on spiritual things and puts forth little effort, cuts corners, and basically slides backwards, may expect little by way of blessings from God.  Note the finality of Paul’s words:

“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” Galatians 6:7-8

Indeed the backslider will have his fill of all his ways (Proverbs 14:14), and can expect little good arising from his behavior.  But a godly person understands that righteous behavior brings a rich reward (Proverbs 3:13-18).  God does not violate His own laws that He sets in motion; He is a God of fairness and justice, and rewards righteous and unrighteous behavior (Matthew 25:14-30).  Usually God gives us space to consider our ways (Haggai 1:7), and appeals to us to return to Him (Hosea 14:1).  Indeed, if we would judge ourselves we would not be judged (1 Corinthians 11:31).  But if we harden our hearts and expect no bad consequences, we will be disappointed on our spiritual report card day.

We should look on these truths as positive reinforcements of God’s laws that He established for our good. And we certainly do not need to simply learn from our own poor choices, just look around to see the returns others have earned from their bad behavior.  Those who cheat, deceive, abuse and hurt cannot expect to prosper. They may get ahead in the short term, but their words and actions will soon overtake them.

But the godly person can look forward to a just reward.  When he or she sows righteous deeds, speaks kind words, cheers up the lonely or depressed, and follows after righteousness, they can expect a blessing from God.  In fact, God will abundantly reward that person (Psalm 1:1-3).  If they place God first in all things, do not skimp on their time alone with God, and serve God and others, they can expect our faithful God to reward them with abundant blessings.

We get what we deserve, whether good or bad.  Of course, no one deserves eternal life apart from God’s grace in Christ.  But God has set in motion certain laws and rules that He will not violate.  We cannot hope to prosper if we do not walk with God.  But if we humbly follow the Master, He will give us a mighty return on our investment.  It may not be the kind of return this world looks for, but it will bless our souls beyond our comprehension (Philippians 4:7).

Have you suffered for your faith?  Do you experience setbacks because you do not follow the crowd to do evil? Stay faithful, for in due time your will reap a harvest if you don’t faint (Galatians 6:9).  Jesus brings His reward with Him (Revelation 22:12), so do not faint or become discouraged.  The life you live for Him brings a rich reward.

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