Monday, July 27, 2009

Reaping the Wild Oats

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. --Galatians 6:7-8

Yesterday, in the middle of the pastor's powerpoints about the price of sin, something he said triggered a chain of thoughts I hadn't connected before. I've heard it said many times that we reap what we sow, later than we sow, and more than we sow but yesterday that statement connected with the cliche about sowing wild oats.

We offer excuses for the young, or the old, or ourselves "just sowing a few wild oats" and then they/we will settle down. But the pastor made a very good point: God forgives us our sins but he does not remove the consequences of those sins.

Like a noxious weed seeding itself in our gardens our wild oats have a pernicious way of hanging about and causing trouble long after the deed is done.

The actual Wild Oat plant, Avena fatua (also known as oatgrass -- more info here), produces oat seeds with projections which when moistened (ie by humidity) turn the seed and drill it into the ground to ensure germination. In addition to the hygroscopic awn, wild oat seeds have another feature to ensure continuation. They can go dormant, waiting for better growing conditions before sprouting. One plant can produce 60 to 2,000 new oats.

When we sow one wild oat seed -- the consequences are 60 to 2000 new wild oats infesting our gardens. And, because that is how things work in this world, we often find ourselves dealing with the consequences of other peoples oats. Our wild oat seeds, our sins, will bury themselves in other people's gardens and be reaped not just by ourselves but by those around us as well.

We are forgiven our sins.
We still must endure the earthly consequences.
We sow and we reap the wild oats.

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