The difference between biblical sowing and reaping and karma

Many people confuse the biblical topic of sowing and reaping with the concept of karma. But a clear distinction can be seen when one understands the big picture point of view that the Holy Spirit is trying to get across.

While it may not be the most specific definition of karma, most people think of karma as a concept that says, “Do good and good will happen to you; do bad and bad will happen to you.” Unfortunately, this is also the understanding that most people have when it comes to the topic of biblical sowing and reaping. And because this is the case, most mistakenly associate the two teachings in a very interchangeable way.

The Bible does indeed include warnings and examples of the “do good and good will happen to you; do bad and bad will happen will happen to you” concept. Examples include:

  • Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and he who rolls a stone will have it roll back on him.” (Proverbs 26:27 NKJV)
  • So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the king’s wrath subsided.” (Esther 7:10 NKJV)
  • Beware lest there be a wicked thought in your heart, saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand,’ and your eye be evil against your poor brother and you give him nothing, and he cry out to the Lord against you, and it become sin among you. You shall surely give to him, and your heart should not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the Lord your God will bless you in all your works and in all to which you put your hand.” (Deuteronomy 15:9-10 NKJV)
  • For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” (Mark 9:41 NKJV)

But limiting the biblical teaching of reaping and sowing to the concept of “do good and good will happen to you; do bad and bad will happen will happen to you” in any way will lead to a misunderstanding of the truth. We can know this because the Bible plainly warns that doing good will not always lead to good things happening to you, nor does doing bad always lead to bad things happening to you (at least in this life). Examples include:

  • “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household!” (Matthew 10:24-25 NKJV)
  • But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” (Matthew 5:44-46 NKJV)
  • Psalm 73 (the whole Psalm works with this particular topic)

Add to those examples the fact that the man who spent his time doing good to others (Acts 10:38) was also known as the man of sorrows (Isaiah 53), and it becomes obvious that the biblical concept of sowing and reaping must be more than the concept of, “Do good and good will happen to you; do bad and bad will happen will happen to you”.

So what gets left out of the above stated concept in comparison to the biblical teaching of sowing and reaping? It’s simply this (or at least as simply as what I’m trying to say) – biblical sowing and reaping is about changing who we are right now. Biblical sowing and reaping is a concept that teaches we inherit things from God based on who we are, and not simply based on what an individual does (1 Corinthians 13:3). Feed the flesh and we reap carnal things because we are being carnal; feed the spirit and we reap spiritual things because we are being spiritual (Romans 8:11-14). If we want good, we must not only do good – we must be good (1 Peter 1:13-16). Because unless we are good, we cannot sow good, much less reap it.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will 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.” (Galatians 6:7-9 NKJV)