Spiritual Law of Reciprocity

The Law of Reciprocity, also known as the Law of Sowing and Reaping, allows us to receive as a result of what we give or do. Scripture makes it clear we might receive the same thing we give, such as mercy (Mt 5:7). Or we might not receive in kind, such as receiving what we need from God in exchange for making his kingdom our top priority (Mt 6:33). Typically, however, we receive to the same degree we give. For example, if we sow more seed, we get a larger harvest (2 Co 9:6); or we’ll receive from others in proportion to our generosity (Lk 6:38).

The following gives powerful examples of reciprocity: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Gal 6:7-10, ESV) Notice the warning that God isn’t mocked, that reciprocity applies to everyone.

Invariably, discussion of the Law of Reciprocity leads to talk about money; how we receive in proportion to our giving or generosity. Almost all of us struggle with a mercenary approach to giving: If I give, then I’ll get. It should be obvious, however, such thoughts are the result of self-centered thinking, trying to use God’s laws for personal advantage. I suggest the law will still work if we’re motivated by selfishness, but God definitely would not be pleased with that attitude and would not add to what we receive.

Here’s the beauty of this law: If we give or serve selflessly, simply trusting God to take care of us as he thinks is appropriate, then he is free to increase what the Law of Reciprocity would normally return to us. That is, if we prove ourselves faithful by using whatever resources we have to serve in a manner that honors God, he can entrust us with more and will increase our return (see Mt 25:21, 23; Lk 6:38).

When we give or serve, we set spiritual forces in motion and we’ll experience the results, whether we receive in kind or not. Selfishness and greed are inappropriate, so they will limit the results we receive. On the other hand, as we develop godly character and learn to serve God and people in humility, he is free to bless us with far more than we need to excel in every good work and increase our resources so we can be generous on every occasion (2 Co 9:8, 11).

16 comments on “Spiritual Law of Reciprocity

Margareta on August 27, 2014 5:36 am

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Larry Fox on October 6, 2014 12:34 pm

Yes, I have an opt-in email list. Please click “Contact Us” on this website, fill in the Contact page and click “Please add me to your email list” then you’ll receive monthly email notices of new articles, blogs and books.

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Larry Fox on October 8, 2014 12:19 pm

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joan hamilton on December 6, 2015 9:12 pm

Amen this help me thanks for the post

Teresa on May 31, 2016 8:08 am

What is the difference between the Law of Reciprocity, the Law of Genesis, and The Law of Sowing and Reaping? It seems to me that they are the same.

Larry Fox on May 31, 2016 4:33 pm

I agree, the Law of Reciprocity and the Law of Sowing and Reaping are the same. The second paragraph of my post uses the “sowing and reaping” passage as an example of reciprocity. I’m not familiar with the Law of Genesis and can’t find any description of it, so I don’t know whether it’s equivalent to reciprocity.

Victor Omebije on September 28, 2017 6:47 am

This is a powerful article… I was just studying on Social Engineering when I came across the “Law of Reciprocity” and it was largely used mischievously. I searched it out on Google and I saw this article. I’m so glad that the Gospel context of this law is been outlined here. Thank you. I will opt-in for your monthly emails and even propagate this blog.

Dale Lowther on October 19, 2017 10:14 pm

I have been looking to gain a deeper understanding on the definition of and practical uses of the law of reciprocity. There have been much discussion on seedtime and harvest, which I believe at my church we’ve been talking about Genesis 11:1… fruit after its own kind.

Monica Walker on February 1, 2018 7:25 am

Thanks for the soul food.

Alka Talwar on June 19, 2018 6:01 am

Great write-up, I am a big believer in placing comments on sites to inform the blog writers know that they’ve added something advantageous to the world wide web!

Jacyra Norman on January 27, 2019 9:56 am

Thanks for explaining the Law of Reciprocity further. It increased my understanding of this law.

AmyL Neely on April 4, 2019 9:12 pm

Love this article very informative and I needed to get a good confirmation on the word reciprocity very well written thank you so much

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