Sowing and Reaping: Lessons from India

Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.” — Ecclesiastes 11:1

While in India, one of the first things I noticed was the flooded plains. Field after field after field seemed to be under water. From my host, I learned about the process used both in India and during the culture of the Bible lands.

  1. Tilling and breaking up the ground was first done to prepare the soil.
  2. “Patch work” like borders were made, allowing water to be retained in the fields.
  3. The fields were flooded to soften and make a mud like substance.
  4. Seeds (such as rice, wheat, etc.) were sown liberally.
  5. Animals and humans would parade through the flooded, muddy ground, packing the seeds into the mud.
  6. The water would recede and the seeds over time would take root downward and show green upward.
  7. The green blades were removed tenderly and replanted in new ground, spaced perfectly; giving every blade a chance to reach its potential.

Sowing and Reaping from Ecclesiastes 11:1

  1. Sowing and Reaping - Lessons fro India 1Bread is used symbolically here for the grain from which it is made.
  2. To cast bread upon the waters referred to the practice of sowing in flooded areas.
  3. The thought is that a widespread and wholesale distribution of what is good will result in a generous return in the time of harvest.
  4. Also, tender replanting of the plant into a proper environment (local church) is necessary if it to reach full potential.
  5. This verse is true of the gospel and many other areas of our spiritual lives. We may not see immediate results as we share the Bread of Life, but the eventual harvest is sure.


Both we and others will thrive where we practice generosity. H.A. Ironside said “No one ever loses by loving, nor becomes poor by giving.” We reap according to the amount we sow. Luke 6:38b, “…for with the same measure…”. This not only applies to soul winning and finances, but also to everything we have to give – forgiveness, love, and every area of human need.

The Law of Sowing and Reaping:
You Will Reap More Than You Will Sow

The place to begin sowing is the place where the greatest need exists. If souls are not being saved, that is an indication that we need to give out more of the gospel seed. If you lack friends, give more of your friendship away. (Proverbs 18:24) In whatever area we give, Jesus has promised that we will receive more than we give and according to how much we give.

When we are helping those who are addicted, bountiful sowing (whether of the spirit or of the flesh) results in bountiful reaping. However, the primary emphasis of sowing and reaping in Scripture is positive. Whether we are speaking of material goods, spiritual service, or personal investments into the lives of others; the more bountifully we sow, the more abundantly we will receive.

Sowing and Reaping - Lessons fro India 2The Bible states that we can expect God to be generous with His blessings. Ephesians 3:20, “All that we can ask or think”, He has dedicated His results to us and for us. Above all that we can ask or think is a huge possibility and probability.

God measures what we have sown not by the amount we have given, but by what we have left over. When the widow cast two small coins into the temple treasury while others cast in much, Jesus said, “This poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: for all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had.” (Mark 12:43-44)

You have heard it said that there is a fine line between faith and foolishness. Most of us never have to worry about crossing that line. If anything, we are too cautious when it comes to exercising faith. We don’t “cast our bread upon the waters” for fear we might go hungry. Or we do not share the gospel because of fear of rejection, or the person not being “ready”. Sow generously, Christian!

Other Verses on Sowing and Reaping

“But this I say, He which SOWETH sparingly shall REAP also sparingly; and he which SOWETH bountifully shall REAP also bountifully.” — II Corinthians 9:6

“I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the INCREASE.” — I Corinthians 3:6

“ So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the INCREASE.” — I Corinthians 3:7

“Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.” — I Corinthians 3:8

“For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” — I Corinthians 3:9

Sharing is Caring

God led Ben and his family (wife, Wendy; and three children, Josh, Caleb, and Hannah) to Rockford, Illinois in 2003 to become the International Director of the fastest growing addiction ministry in the United States. Bro. Burks is now privileged to travel and train others how to help the addicted within their communities.

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