Blessed are you that sow beside all waters, that send forth thither the feet of the ox and the donkey.
1. Here is an assertion of that universal law that operates in the whole domain of human life — the law of consequent following precedent, of effect being the child of cause, of our sowing determining our reaping, of our character and conduct evolving our destiny.
2. "Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters." Why? Not because the sowing is itself an absolute benediction. Oftentimes it is attended with a great deal of pain, and labour, and anxiety, and sacrifice. It is the casting away of that which is in itself of great value. The sowing is blessed because it is a prophecy of the increase of that which we sow, the promise of the reward of our labour and our sacrifice.
3. We are very apt to say, "I shall attain this and that, acquire this and that by the goodness of God." We do well to say this. But we must not forget that the mercy and goodness of God alone will do nothing for us. It is God's mercy and goodness, plus our own will, energy, and conduct, that will determine our destiny, and evolve our circumstances, and ripen our harvests.
4. The skill of the farmer lies in his knowledge of the relation of his seed to the soil, to the season, and the atmosphere, and the conditions of the growth and development of the seed. The highest wisdom of life is the knowledge of the relation of conduct to character, and of character to destroy: the perception of the conditions under which h e s highest elements are perfected and its fruit-bearing qualities ripened. That is the mystic meaning Of the benediction of my text: there is the secret of the blessedness of every Sower.
5. Do we know what God's purpose in our life is? Along what lines would He have us develop? What does He wish human life to be? I would answer these questions first, and then show how the working of the human with the Divine fulfils the purposes and plans of God. I do not think that He wants us to go hungry or poorly clad in the biting cold; I do not think that we are fulfilling His purpose when we sigh over accidents that are traceable to human causes. It is anything but piety to sit down in poverty, rags, and dirt, and say, "The will of the Lord be done." His will is our wellbeing — body, soul, and spirit. I want to point out what lines of conduct will contribute to the forming of such a Character and the developing of such circumstances as God approves.
I. I would speak of ACTIVITY as fruit-bearing seed that ripens into a harvest of blessedness. I do not mean busyness in any realm of life that may present itself. What I mean is activity in righteous pursuits, in holy ambitions, in legitimate callings; activity in things that pertain to human improvement, human comfort and well-being; things that belong to the many phases of life's wondrous economy; things that tend to the uplifting of human lives, to the amelioration of human woes, to the lightening of human burdens, to the redeeming of human souls from tyranny, falsehood, and wrong.
II. The next fruit-bearing quality of which I would speak is LEARNING. There is a trite old saying, "Never too late- to learn," which in most lives has little or no practical application. Do not let learning end at the schoolroom, net yourself some task to learn that shall explain some of the mysteries of life to you. Go apart from the "madding crowd's ignoble strife," and there open the windows of your mind, till that "light which never was on sea or land" shall flood it and make it luminous as with the sunshine of God. Every task you set yourself to learn, and learn it; every mystery that you make plain to yourself by processes of reasoning and study; every new fact that you gain by search and research in the domain of knowledge will not only make you wiser, but better; and, perhaps, after much pain and labour, you shall find the task ripening into a harvest that shall make the autumn of life golden.
III. I would mention also THE PRESERVATION OF HEALTH as that which will bear abundant fruitage in our happiness and well-being. "A sound mind in a sound body" is doubtless God's will concerning us. And towards attaining that we can do more for ourselves than all the physicians in the world can do for us. Blessed is every man that sows his life's seeds in fertile places; he is promoting the Divine economy, he is carrying out the purposes of God on earth.
(W. J. Hocking.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters, that send forth thither the feet of the ox and the ass.