You reap what you sow

2010-01-18 00:00

ONE of our pastors shared a very inspirational message with us one Sunday and I thought it was a perfect note on which to start the year.

He outlined four basic yet crucial principles that we can apply in our lives to make this year a successful one, not only for us as individuals but for others. Even if I had to remove the spiritual element of the message, I still feel it’s important for everyone to hear: “You reap what you sow”.

If you don’t sow, there is little chance of reaping. This goes without saying. We all want to be successful and live contented lives but we also have to understand that for that kind of reaping we need to sow. It could be a little hard work, a little time, a little love or even just a little bit of kindness — in the end, we will have something to reap. If you work harder, you may reap an increase or even a promotion, if you sow a little love you may experience fulfilling relationships, if you sow a little time into your kids’ homework schedule, they may do better at school this year. Whatever you put in, more often than not you will get it out.

If you want to reap corn, you need to sow corn. It doesn’t make much sense to spend most of your time on MXit and expect to get good grades or spending too much money on alcohol and expect to be wealthy. We can’t go around betraying others and expect to enjoy great friendships. If you want to do well at school then perhaps you should spend more time studying. If you want wealth then how about wise spending, good budgeting and saving? And if you want to have good relationships then maybe you need to be a good friend to start with.

If you want to reap much then you need to sow much. I loved the way our pastor put this: a farmer can’t sow a row of seeds and expect to harvest a soccer field’s worth of corn. It would be ridiculous to think that.

This merely tells us that the more time we spend tending the goals we want to accomplish, the better we will accomplish them. The more you sow into something, the more you will reap the benefits. The more time you spend with your loved ones, the better your relationships will be.

I know most of us complain about not having enough time to do all those things we need to do but you will never find time for anything. You have to make it.

There is a time gap between sowing and reaping. This is a very simple principle. The pastor used the same example as above. A farmer can’t plant a seed today and then harvest tomorrow. And when a woman becomes pregnant the baby doesn’t suddenly pop out the next day. In the same way you can’t say one nice thing to someone and expect to see results in a few minutes. It is possible, but most situations take time, they require patience and perseverance with continuous deposits of whatever is necessary for the benefits to start budding.

Showing up for work on time today doesn’t necessarily mean you will get a promotion the next day. Success (in all area­s of life from finances to relationships) depends upon staying power. The reason for failure in most cases is a lack of perseverance. Submitting your first assignment on time doesn’t mean you have passed the term, let alone the year.

Constant sowing over a period of time with a dose of staying power will certainly lead you to your harvesting. And that’s the thing with hard work, it has a future payoff, while laziness pays off now. But which would you rather have — the satisfaction of having achieved something through hard work or the pleasure of having nothing now and in the future?

So as the year slowly unfolds, please take some time to think about what you want to achieve this year and start sowing whatever seed you need to sow in order to reap the prize you want in the future.

• Lungi Dladla is a freelance writer based in Pietermaritzburg.

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