W ilson Framton of Lewes, Delaware, reminds us of the importance of warning signs. He told about a handwritten sign spotted on the back of an Amish horse-drawn carriage in Pennsylvania. The sign said: “Energy efficient vehicle – runs on oats and grass. Caution: Do not step in exhaust” (Reader’s Digest, June 2021, p 24). Signs are important, some critically so. Take stop signs for example. Stop signs dot our nation’s vast network of roadways. Danger and even death threaten if we choose to disobey them. Even more so if remove them. On the evening of February 6, 1996 three young people in their early 20’s cruised rural roads east of Tampa. Wanting to pull some pranks for fun, they removed 19 stops signs on several roads. The next day, three teenagers who had been bowling blew through one of the now stop-sign-less intersections, into the path of an eight-ton truck, and all three were killed. In June 1997, the young perpetrators were convicted of manslaughter. They wept and wiped copious tears of remorse from their eyes as they stood in a Tampa courtroom in orange jail jump-suits, their hands cuffed. Judge Bob Mitcham of Hillsborough Circuit Court sentenced them to 15 years in prison. He showed mercy, for a pre-sentence recommendation called for up to 50 years (from Associated Press article, New York Times, June 21, 1997 “Stop Sign Prank”). That sad story reminds us choices that seem harmless and even fun can end up having fatal consequences. It was clear the three perpetrators didn’t mean to kill anybody, but because of their mischief, three people died. Choices really can be a matter of life or death.
Briefly consider this thought — surely as there are signs on the physical roadways of life, a loving, caring God has posted signs about the spiritual roads and paths we choose to follow. One of the clearest is found in the words of the apostle Paul in Galatians 6:7-8 where we read these straightforward words: “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.” That passage is the equivalent of a divine stop sign designed to get us to stop and think as we travel life’s roadway. It teaches a lesson it is difficult to get some people to seriously think about. Each day is full of choices, and the choices we make each day are critical. They move us further down one of only two different roads — one that ends in “corruption” (that is, hell); and a second that ends in ”everlasting life” or Heaven (see also Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:13-14). Many choices matter as we travel though life — how much education and what career path to pursue, who to marry, where to live, whether or not to smoke or drink or be hard-hearted and unforgiving and angry, etc. The choice that matters most is whether or not to spend your days “sowing to the flesh” (that is, living for sin and self) or “sowing to the spirit” (that is, seeking and obeying God and living for His glory). Fred Allen said, “Most of us spend six days of each week sowing wild oats; then we go to church on Sunday and pray for a crop failure.” Sowing to the flesh or sowing to the Spirit is a choice we daily make as we travel life’s roadway. The crop we reap in eternity depends what we choose to sow to each day. What are you sowing to?