Sowing Wild Oats

“Sowing wild oats” is a euphemism for engaging in immoral behavior or even dissipation (useless behavior). The expression has been around since at least 1576 according to etymoline.com.

How did the phrase “sowing wild oats” get this connotation? Those not familiar with oats – wild or domesticated – there is a handy disambiguation page on Wikipedia.org. In short, wild oats are any of several genus of the oat family that are problematic when they invade cultivated oats. They steal the nutrients that the desired cultivated cereal crop would otherwise have available and reduce the yield significantly. Further, they are very difficult to control because they are so similar to the desirable plants, not only in appearance, but also genetically (making chemical control difficult). The seeds can apparently lay dormant for years. So, anyone who would “sow wild oats” would be engaging in wasteful and destructive behavior.

Sowing poorly habitually can waste a life. Not just here, but also hereafter. I’m going to let these scriptures speak for themselves. (What could I add?)

The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good. [Genesis 1:12]

“But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

“I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you. [John 16:5-15]

Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. [Acts 2:38]

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will 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. [Galatians 6:7-8]

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Jon

Awestruck admirer of the Sovereign of the universe, from whom all rights and responsibilities of men derive.

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