I've never really understood what that means. I used to read the Bible with a wonderful old man who said his mother swore it was true. I think it means that what people do will come back to visit them. Justin Timberlake released a song in 2006 on the subject. I could go there for wisdom. But I won't!
The reason that I thought of the phrase this morning is that I'm reading a book about an 18th century Scottish theological debate called the Marrow Controversy, whilst on a train from Sunderland to London. Now I know that you'll find this hard to believe...but its a real page turner! Whether it's the quality of writing or the vital nature of the subject matter I don't know. But I can't put it down.
The issue at stake is the preaching of the unconditional Grace of God. There is no more important issue in the cosmos. Does God's love come to us freely? The Father loving sinners and sending His Son, Jesus. The one in whom we have every spiritual blessing. The answer is a resounding, "Yes!"
The question is: How much is this written on my heart? How does this affect the way I pastor the church?
And this is where I got thinking of "what goes around comes around". Because I think I still have a performance tainted heart. I still look for affirmation from people and probably quietly from God. And this then comes around in the way I treat the people God has given me to love. I get frustrated when they don't perform as I want!
What goes around in my heart will always come around in my public ministry. Or as Jesus puts it in Luke's gospel:
The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45)
Th answer to this is an ever deep realisation of the free love of God Father, Son and Spirit for me. Not because of anything I do but simply because that is who they are. That is God's character. That is that love that changes hearts. (Romans 5:5-8)
Then I might begin to be a little more like the pastor described in the book:
"What is a godly pastor, after all, but one who is like God, with a heart of grace; someone who sees God bringing prodigals home and runs to embrace them, weeps for joy that they have been brought home, and kisses them - asking no questions - no qualifications or conditions required?" ( p.73 The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism and Gospel Assurance -Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters; by Sinclair B. Ferguson)
Not the snappiest title! But definitely worth a read.