The law of sowing and reaping is universal. It is for me one of those threads that goes through all cultures and religions in a way that shows me that God obviously thought it was important enough to tell it in every format possible.

A Japanese proverb says, “A seed not sown cannot be harvested.”

The book of Galatians in the Bible tells us that we reap what we sow.

We tend to read this in the context of kharma, what goes around comes around, you get what you dish out….

But an often overlooked part of sowing and reaping seems to be the practical part. The part that simply says that your actions bear fruit. A farmer knows this more than anyone. If he does not get out of a bed at the right time of the year to put those seeds in the ground, he just won’t eat. Simple law really. No rocket science there.

I have pondered this fact over the past eight years as I have been in Haiti in a culture where unemployment is the norm and poverty is status quo. When people rely on aid and handouts, the laws of sowing in reaping get muddled and thrown in to chaos. The ability to see that your work has merit and that your determination can bare fruit get lost. Defying the law of sowing and reaping have almost as disastrous of consequences as if we could turn off gravity. Rice comes on the back of large UN vehicles or from missions teams. The law of the universe that literally can be the roadmap out of poverty gets obscured by goodwill as we give in a way that is unsustainable and often times not even helpful. Goodwill becomes the problem and people translate the laws of the universe into an entitled mess.

Almost anyone who gives to the poor does so with a good heart. There is a sense of responsibility that is righteous that compels us to give to those less fortunate then ourselves. Giving has it’s place. A fire breaks out and destroys everything a family owns. Give generously. A woman loses her husband in a car crash. Give generously. A child is sick and in need. Give generously. But when a people group, a family, or a country is living on handouts for years, decades and even generations, my mind implores me to think of solutions that are beyond crisis to help people out of their situations. Jobs, economies, skills, seem to be a better place to invest charitable giving in situations like this. We want to help restore people back into the rythms of the universe. The laws of sowing and reaping are as fundamental as the laws of gravity and time. When people live outside of them, chaos ensues. As we try to help the poor… those who live in poverty, for decades or more… you can choose to give, but don’t stop there. Help restore them back to the joy and dignity of the fruit of their labor. Dignity, Jobs, Autonomy, Opportunity, Empowerment. It is in these that the cycle of poverty is broken.

” The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” – book of Genesis