Spiritual Law of Reciprocity

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The Law of Reciprocity, also known as the Law of Sowing and Reaping, causes us to receive as a result of what we give or do. Scripture makes it clear we might receive the same as we give, such as mercy (Matt. 5:7). Or we might not receive in kind, such as receiving what we need from God as we make his kingdom our top priority (Matt. 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 Cor. 9:6); or we’ll receive from others in proportion to our generosity (Luke 6:38).

The following gives powerful examples of reciprocity. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Gal. 6:7-10, NIV). 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. Most 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. The law will still work if we’re motivated by selfishness, but that attitude definitely wouldn’t please God and he wouldn’t 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’s 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 him, he can entrust us with more and increase our return (see Matt. 25:21, 23; Luke 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 limit the results we receive. But as we learn to serve God and people in humility, he’s free to bless us with more than we need to excel in what we do and to be generous to others (2 Cor. 9:8, 11).

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14 comments on “Spiritual Law of Reciprocity

Margareta on August 27, 2014 5:36 am

Informative article, exactly what I needed.

planetax.com.mx on October 7, 2014 9:38 pm

Good day! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you
I truly enjoy reading through your blog posts. Many thanks!

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

Teresa, 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.

Apostle Gregory B Reese on October 6, 2017 5:55 pm


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

Doug Gona on May 18, 2020 3:57 am

Informative and revealing. Thank you.

Eleanor Shumaker on May 19, 2020 11:53 am

As always, Larry gives me a spiritual “Nugget” to chew on, and to nourish my soul.

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