They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.
I. AN INSPIRED PROVERS. A proverb is often helpful; an inspired proverb ought to be to us an inspiration. Write it down at the head of all your difficulties and in the midst of all your struggles; it is one of God's own pithy sayings, a maxim He Himself has made — "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy."
II. A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. It is as though one shouted of his success, and announced Jehovah's triumph. By this he would record his gratitude, and encourage his hearers. If the moss in the desert could stimulate the fainting traveller, if a flower outside the prison wall could speak comfortably to the prisoner in his dreary dungeon, if a solitary star shining through the blackness of the night could bring hope and guidance to the storm-tossed mariner, may I not believe that this experience of David, or whosoever the psalmist may have been, long years ago, will be as a ministering angel to such as are tempted to think that the seed is wasted, that the harvest can never be, that their hopes are dashed to the ground to rise no more for ever?
III. A PREVAILING PRINCIPLE.
1. In everyday life. Scientists and inventors have toiled, and moiled, and thought, and struggled for many a long year. They have, for the most part, received little help from others. One or two perhaps espoused their cause and helped them through, but the rest either jeered and sneered, or else looked on complacently as if to say, "We shall see what we shall see, but we do not think it will come to very much." It was a sowing season; aye, and if we had been behind the scenes we should have seen that it was a weeping-time as well. Some of these sowers died in obscurity. Many of them did not live to see their talent and their skill appreciated, but there was a harvest-time for all that, or if it has not yet arrived it is yet to be. On the other hand many of them did reap the reward of their talents; the proverb held good in most instances. So with philanthropists, and merchants, and discoverers; so indeed with all of every class. There are exceptions, of course, to this rule, but the exceptions proved the rule. Sometimes another reaps where one has sown, but for the most part the maxim holds good. Those who are honest, and earnest, and self-denying in their toil, those who wait awhile shall live to see success, and to reap reward,
2. In spiritual matters.
(1) Was it not just so in the matter of our conversion? Oh, for more sorrow of a godly sort! Oh, for more of the repentance that needs not to be repented of! May the tears flow till Jesus dries our eyes!
(2) The same is true of the matter of backsliding and restoration. If you have wandered, come back, but come with streaming eyes and wounded spirit, come with firm resolve that, God helping you, you will never do the like again.
(3) Apply the same truth to Christian service.
4. And to suffering.
IV. The proverb, the experience, the principle is also A PRECIOUS PROMISE. We have here — they make my eyes to shine with gladness — two of God's "shalls." These are absolute affirmations from the lips of Jehovah, who speaks, and it stands fast.
Parallel VersesKJV: They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.