Can you suggest a quotation that would be similar to "as you sow, so shall you reap."

Expert Answers
rmhope eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This quotation comes from the Bible, from Galatians 6:7. In this passage, the Apostle Paul is encouraging the believers in Galatia to keep doing good "to all people" and not to give up because they will eventually receive a reward.  In fact, he says that one who "sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life." It works the other way, too. Those who "sow to the sinful nature" will reap, or receive, destruction, Paul writes.

There are many other passages in the Jewish and Christian scriptures that reiterate this concept.

  • "Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again." (Eccl. 11:1)
  • "Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them." (Psalm 126:6)
  • “For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” (Hosea 8:7)
  • "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you." (Matt. 7:12) This is known as the Golden Rule.
  • "With the measure you use, it will be measured to you--and even more." (Mark 4:24)
  • “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” (2 Corinthians 9:6)

Another quote that speaks of sowing and reaping is this one: "Sow an act, and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character, and you reap a destiny." This has been attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Reade, and an old Spanish proverb. 

There is another saying about sowing that many people have heard, but it means the opposite of this quote. When people talk about someone "sowing his wild oats," they usually mean that someone does something bad or immoral when he is young but gets it out of his system and doesn't necessarily have to pay the consequences because he settles down later in life. 

Other sayings with similar meanings are "what goes around, comes around," "that will come back to bite you," and "you get out of life what you put into it." 

All of these quotations and sayings, whether from Scripture or just from simple observation, point out that negative actions produce negative consequences while positive actions produce positive consequences.



mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Voltaire, who wrote Candide ends his satire of the then-popular philosophy of Optimism with his character noting "Chacun doit cultiver son jardin," or "Each person must cultivate his own garden." 

In other words, each person is reponsible for his own results.  In addition, this remark suggests that each person must find his own values; he must sow what he feels is most important, what will serve him best, rather than blindly accepting some popular belief.

drmonica eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first saying that comes to my mind is "What goes around, comes around." I also think of the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

The saying that you cite is a pervasive theme in literature. I'm not sure exactly where it originated, but the fable of the ant and the grasshopper is the earliest version of it that I am aware of. The ant literally sowed nothing...

meiga13 | Student

You made your bed then you lie in it

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spaceelaci | Student

How about "What goes around, comes around"?

You get what you give.

Garbage in, garbage out.


Hope this helps. :)

slhawkins1 | Student

The quotation has several other saying or quotations that are similar. 

-You get what back what you give

- treat others as you wish to be treated

- Before the reward there must be labor (Ralph Ransom)