By: Brien Vuylukson, Columnist
The law of sowing and reaping is universal. It crosses every barrier, every faith group, every nationality, and it’s a very simple law: What we put out there, good or bad, always comes back to us, and it usually comes back to us multiplied – sometimes on a grand scale.
We usually think of it in negative terms. When we see someone in trouble for some wrongdoing, we say, “They’re just reaping what they’ve sown,” and, of course, it’s true. Anytime we sow selfishness, bitterness, anger, discord, gossip, violence, mistrust, or any other negative action or attitude, we can expect a bountiful harvest of destruction in our lives. Always. It may not happen right away, but the harvest will come.
It can be a scary reality when we start looking back on our lives and recall some of the things we’ve done. Maybe we can see where the law of sowing and reaping has held true for us, or maybe we’re wondering when the proverbial hammer will fall. Thankfully, this law of sowing and reaping is not one-sided, it is a positive law as well. When we sow charity, generosity, kindness, love, peace, edification, gentleness, trust, or any other positive action or attitude, we can expect a bountiful harvest of great blessings, prosperity, and joy.
Okay, I know, many of you already know this. Fair enough, but maybe once in a while we all need a little reminder to give us a push back in the right direction. We should keep this law in mind in every decision we make and every action we take. After all, everything we do – in a sense – we’re actually doing to ourselves.
But allow me to share with you more than just a reminder. After all, what good is it to share a universal law without giving some practical ways to put it into positive action in our lives and the lives of others? Let’s skip the negative stuff. We all know the things we shouldn’t be doing that will come back to “bite” us. In doing good, please keep in mind that our motivation must not be simply to get something good for ourselves out of it, but a sincere desire to reach out and help meet a need.
In a small community like ours, there are a multitude of ways we can reach out to help.
In doing so, we strengthen our community, improve lives, build hope, and provide an example for our kids (and other communities) to follow.
Over the years Boyne residents have risen time and again to meet the needs expressed in our communities. Every fundraiser, food drive, community improvement, and charity event has met with great success. It shows that our community cares, and while these organized events are a wonderful blessing, there is more – much more we can do on an individual basis every day, and not just with our money. Here are just a few ideas for getting you, or your whole family, involved in sowing some goodness: Do you have a loved one or a family member in a retirement home or assisted living community? Make it a point to visit them regularly, and give them something to look forward to each week. Let them know they haven’t been abandoned or forgotten, and let them know they matter – to you. Ask around while you’re there, and get the names of a few residents whose families rarely visit. You can make a real difference in their lives too. Besides, you’ll probably come away more blessed than they do.
The elderly have much wisdom and many stories to share and most of them are very friendly and have a great sense of humor. Is there a disabled, ill, or elderly person who could use some help around their house once a week? Or maybe a one-time project that would really help improve their lives? Get some friends together, some materials and supplies, and just show up, maybe even take them a nice meal when you go.
Have you ever been in the checkout line at the grocery store and seen the look of embarrassment on the mom’s face ahead of you as she realizes she doesn’t have enough money to pay for the groceries her family needs? She begins to remove items from her order to place back on the shelves, and you secretly “drop” a $20 bill on the ground, bend to pick it up, and say to her, “Excuse me ma’am, but you dropped this,” and you hand her the $20. Sure, she might know that it really came from you, but you’ll save her the embarrassment and her family won’t go without.
Your minister, or pastor, or priest (or maybe even your boss or supervisor) can often feel greatly overworked and underappreciated and wondering if they’re making a difference at all. Then a card or note of encouragement you wrote to them shows up. Maybe you even included a plate of homemade cookies or a nice gift certificate.
The waitress (or waiter) who is serving you your meal is working very hard for just a few dollars an hour. They are wondering how they will pay the rent this month and still be able to afford the brake job their car desperately needs. You decide to leave them a crazy, outlandishly large tip, and they go home that night with renewed hope.
The kid down the street is selling raffle tickets, or magazines, or cookies. They come to knock on your door, and instead of saying, “No, thank you”, you become their best customer.
You’re in the drive-thru at the fast food restaurant and you see in your rear-view mirror a clunker car with blue smoke pouring from the exhaust. You pull up to the drive-thru window, pay for your order, and ask the window server, “How much is the order for the car behind me?” “Six twenty-nine,” they respond, and you pay for their lunch.
Rake the yard of the widow down the street.
Shovel the path for your neighbor.
Invite a homeless person for a holiday meal (or anytime
Volunteer at the soup kitchen or food pantry.
Visit someone in jail or prison.
Take some flowers or balloons to someone in the hospital.
Call your mom or dad (or sibling or friend) just to say hello.
Cook a special meal for your wife, or surprise her by cleaning the house.
There are so many different ways we can give of ourselves, limited only by our own imagination.
Be creative, and think up some ways you can give, and leave the door of your heart open to spontaneity. Always be prepared to help meet a need as soon as it arises.
Our kids, neighbors, and friends will catch-on to this kind of giving too.
Kindness spreads like wildfire. Two of Boyne’s greatest attributes have always been kindness and generosity. It’s just one of the reasons I love being a resident of Boyne. It’s love – the heart of our community – A community that cares.
If you haven’t, gotten involved in the past, become part of the heartbeat of kindness.
Reach out a helping hand in our community. Simply making the trip into town for one of the many festivals or parades is a great way of showing your community spirit. Shopping locally is another great way to show support for our friends and neighbors who own our local businesses.
Let’s all get out there and sow some seeds of goodness, and don’t be surprised when the blessings you’ve sown come pouring back into your life. Don’t wait, start today. The harvest will come. God bless Boyne!
Brien Vuylukson is a faith-based columnist for The Boyne City Gazette who proudly calls Boyne City his home. His column appears bi-weekly in the paper.