The Principle of Reciprocity

His name meant "Lord of Lightening"! He was a real big-shot in Canaan. Made quite a reputation for himself. He conquered seventy kings, cut off their thumbs and big toes, and forced them to live like dogs in his palace, literally begging for scraps under his dining table in order to survive their captivity! What a brutally evil king he was! Yet he seems to have understood a basic spiritual law that many in our day either disregard or simply overlook.


It's known as "The Principle of Reciprocity". The principle of reciprocity says that what GOES around, COMES around. No, that isn't just a cliché. It is actually a biblical concept; a spiritual LAW!


The Apostle Paul worded it this way in his letter to the Christians in the Roman province of Galatia: "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that will he also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to ALL, especially to those who are of the household of faith." Gal 6:7-10 (emphasis mine)


There are FOUR OBSERVATIONS I want to point out about this law of sowing and reaping:


#1) Our physical experience in this area is a clear picture of the Spiritual reality. If you plant an apple tree, you WILL reap a harvest of apples some time in the future. Which leads us to the following observations…


#2) We always reap the same thing we sowed. Apples come from apple seed, oranges do not… Sow to the flesh,. Paul wrote, you WILL reap a fleshly (corrupt) harvest. If you "sow" anger in your marriage, you will not reap a harvest of harmony. Sow infidelity and you will not reap faithfulness, etc…


#3) We always reap LATER! It takes a while for an apple tree to grow and begin to produce apples! But eventually it does! In the same way your attitudes and behavior may not immediately produce a harvest after it's kind, but eventually the harvest always comes! 


Peter warns us in 2 Peter 3 not to misinterpret God's patience as indifference! Some convince themselves that they are "getting away with it", when in fact they are being given time to turn from the wrong path they have chosen! Peter reminds us not to forget that God has all the time in the world - literally - and nothing escapes His notice! But it is His kindness that leads us to turn to Him!


#4) We always reap MORE than was sown! One apple seed produces a tree from which thousands of apples may grow over the coming decades! In the same way, your attitudes and actions, be they good or bad, produce multiplied consequences!


The good news is that this law works in the positive as well as the negative! 


Jesus said in Luke 6:38; "Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you."


He said this, by the way, in the context of patience, loving attitudes, mercy, as well as generosity. In ALL your dealings with the people around you, even the mean, nasty ones, remember that thought! 


Because it's a spiritual LAW! It's etched in STONE in the heavens!


Oh yeah, Adonai-Bezek? You can read his story in Judges 1:1-7. You see, when Israel came to town they defeated him SOUNDLY and did to him what he had always done to everybody HE conquered! They cut off his thumbs and big toes so that he was never a threat after that! And he REALIZED that God was allowing him to reap the consequences of his own wicked behavior! Because...


"...with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you." 




So make sure yours is; "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self control!" And that is what will be multiplied back to you somewhere down the line!

Pastor Robert Fountain