Have you ever felt frustrated in trying to do the right thing? Perhaps you have heard of the bamboo plant? There is a certain kind of bamboo plant that has a very unique growth pattern. The first year the seed is planted and it must be watered diligently every day. Yet it does not grow. The second year it must be watered every day, but still it does not grow. For a few years this plant follows the same, seemingly fruitless pattern. Then, in its final year the bamboo plant bursts out of the ground and in a short amount of time grows to be several feet tall.
That is often what the Kingdom of God is like. We do the right thing. We train our children according to the truth of God’s Word. Only to see them fight with their siblings and be selfish over and over again. We love our family member who has turned away from the family and from the faith, only to have them continually bash us. We stand firm for our beliefs at work, and are shunned or even fired for our unwillingness to play the world’s game. Day in and day out we do what we believe to be the right thing and the thing that God wants us to do. And yet it seems like nothing is happening. If anything it seems like we are losing ground, and maybe even losing our minds. We ask, “is this worth it?” Have you ever felt that way?
Hopefully, through the lessons of the past couple days you will realize the full measure of today’s verses. There are only two paths in life. We can either sow to the flesh. Or we can sow to the Spirit. The flesh is like a weed. It doesn’t require much effort. You give it a tiny bit of dirt and, Poof! it grows up overnight. Instant results. Just like we Americans like it. And, hey, many weeds have really pretty flowers, too! Yet, the end result of a weed is that it runs wild and takes over everything and eventually chokes out all the good plants, leaving the yard in total disarray. As the prophet Hosea said, “They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.”
The Kingdom of God, however, is like the bamboo plant. It may go for years without any apparent results, and then, one day, in the proper time — whoosh — God brings a harvest. Here’s the truth. Sometimes you may be the waterer only. You could spend your whole life watering something and never see its results. Then, after you are gone, someone else comes along to see and harvest the fruit. Now, if it were YOUR plant then that would be frustrating and not seem fair. But, remember, it’s not your plant. It’s God’s plant. He has a plan and you are part of it. Just remember, when your seed is planted you will experience the fullness of glory. That is our hope. The watering and sowing to the Spirit in this life is not for us to reap benefit. It is because we are humble servants tilling and working God’s field in order to grow the Kingdom of God. Let us not give up doing good, because we know that 1) it’s not our field, we’re just workers, 2) sowing flesh will bring about a nightmare in the end, and 3) in the end God’s glory will reign supreme.