ARE YOU SELLING THE SWEEPINGS WITH THE WHEAT?

One of the poignant reminders that God is interested in how we treat one another is the level of detail in the instructions He gave the prophets for day-to-day living in Israel. For example, He specified some ways the poor can be provided for, gave guidelines for interpersonal relationships and warned against cheating customers in business as the following scriptures show:

“And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the Lord your God” – Leviticus 19:9-10.

“Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord” – Leviticus 19:18.

“Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the Lord” – Proverbs 20:10.

In line with the last, my attention was recently drawn to the Bible verse where God frowned at traders selling the sweepings with the wheat. I present it below with the surrounding verses for context:

“4. Hear this, you who trample the needy and do away with the poor of the land, 5. saying, ‘When will the New Moon be over that we may sell grain, and the Sabbath be ended that we may market wheat?’- skimping the measure, boosting the price and cheating with dishonest scales, 6. buying the poor with silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, selling even the sweepings with the wheat. 7. The LORD has sworn by the Pride of Jacob: ‘I will never forget anything they have done'” Amos 8:4-7. (NIV) [emphasis, mine]

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(Related: How To Uphold God’s Standards In Our Workplaces 1)
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Fair business dealing is a moral issue and cannot be sidestepped by Christians as irrelevant to them simply because these scriptures were directed to the Israelites. God was describing a situation where people sell the chaff with the grain to get undeserved profit. In today’s manufacturing economy, that would be like selling defective products along with good ones. In sane climes, companies embark on recall of entire lines of products once they are discovered to pose danger to consumers or to be ineffective.

Yet ever so often, especially in countries where regulations are not properly enforced, people buy well packaged goods only to get home and discover they are substandard or nonfunctional (they should have been trashed by the companies’ Quality Control units). As a result, many know very well the pain of feeling defrauded.

However, the highlighted part of v. 6 above can be understood in a broader context beyond the commercial one explained above. One of my pastors once said that whatever you do for a living is your business. If you get your livelihood from the educational sector, teaching could be your business. If you’re in the health sector, tending the sick as a doctor or a nurse could be your business.

When we have this understanding, we can see the relevance of this scripture to us. Are we offering quality service at our duty posts or are we negligent of our duties? We hear stories of (and perhaps we have seen) teachers who spend more time talking about their personal lives than teaching their subjects. Selling the sweepings with the wheat! We hear of patients who are unattended for hours upon hours by hospital staff who are not overstretched. Selling the sweepings with the wheat!

The Bible in the book of Colossians says that whatever we do as believers should be done as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23). When teachers are in training, they do what is called teaching practice. They are assigned to a school where they spend some time putting into effect what they have learned. At some point in this exercise, supervisors from their institutions come to evaluate their performance. Expectedly, they put their best foot forward on such occasions. But when they get their certificates, they may not always discharge their duties with the same passion and dedication.

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What a difference it would make if they thought that God was watching them teach! And He is! Whatever our jobs, how much more committed and painstaking we would be if we realised we are answerable to God for how we perform and not just to our human superiors! Take a look at that passage in Colossians earlier cited.

“23. And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24. Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” – Colossians 3:23-24.

So, pastor, when you tell many stories from your travels without feeding the flock under you with the regenerative word of God, remember that rebuke from Amos. When you, civil servant, give people the runaround before responding to their routine requests, you are selling the sweepings with the wheat.

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(Related: How To Uphold God’s Standards In Our Workplaces 2)
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We must offer quality in the service and goods others get from us. It doesn’t matter how many people we are attending to or their status. In other words, we should put on our best show whether our students, parishioners or clients are few or many, whether they are highly placed or not. Remember you’re putting on a display for the God of the universe. So always give nothing but your best! And as far as it rests with you, let each person you serve officially leave with satisfaction.

This reminds me of the biblical account of the life of Daniel the prophet. Although he was a Jewish exile in Babylon, he worked so well that he was promoted to the royal court and was set above most of the high officials of the empire. This sparked envy among them and they conspired to pull him down but they couldn’t. Why?

“The vice-regents and governors got together to find some old scandal or skeleton in Daniel’s life that they could use against him, but they couldn’t dig up anything. He was totally exemplary and trustworthy. They could find no evidence of negligence or misconduct” – Daniel 6:4 (MSG). [emphasis, mine]

Although they entrapped him with a charge unrelated to work and had him thrown into the lions’ den, God rescued him and the lions ate up his detractors and their families on the orders of the king (Daniel, chapter 6).

I want to humbly share a relevant example from my own job. For some of my classes with graduate students that are taken by few students, we usually meet in my office. But I teach as heartily as though I was facing hundreds of students in a hall. And even if I can’t touch everything on the course outline due to time constraints, I ensure, by God’s grace, that the students learn enough to know what each course is about and can hopefully give a good account of themselves in that area.

Why am I doing this? I can say they are graduate students and just give them a bunch of assignments without teaching anything. But I know that God is watching, the students paid to learn something new and they would be disappointed if I threw everything back to them without making an honest effort to take them beyond where they were before we met. Assignments can complement what I have offered them and even in seminar courses, I still have a duty to provide guidance to ensure the experience prepares them for their future researches. Otherwise, I’ll be selling sweepings in place of wheat.

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I believe that when we do our jobs like this, someone is bound to notice sooner or later. But even if people do not acknowledge us, God will and His commendation is priceless!

Prayer:
Forgive me, dear Lord, in every way I’ve been selling the sweepings with the wheat in my dealings with others. Help me to honour You in every business transaction I make, whether I am selling products or services in Jesus’ name.

Some relevant scriptures:

“… it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful” – 1 Corinthians 4:2.

“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might …” – Ecclesiastes 9:10.

“Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically” – Romans 12:11 (NLT)

“Don’t work only while being watched, as people-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, do God’s will from your heart” – Ephesians 6:6 (CSB).

“For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body” – 2 Corinthians 5:10 (NLT)

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The scriptures used in this post are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible except where otherwise stated.
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New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica.

New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All Rights Reserved.

The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission.

The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson.

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I am a university lecturer. I teach Mass Communication, mostly writing courses like Feature and Interpretative Writing, Magazine Article Writing and News Writing, and let’s just say I’ve been doing this for a long time. As you have probably guessed, I am a born-again Christian.

70 thoughts on “ARE YOU SELLING THE SWEEPINGS WITH THE WHEAT?

  1. Thanks for reminding me again, ma, that God is interested in the quality of service I render where I find myself. It is a scriptural and moral obligation that I must observe.

  2. Thank you Ma for having such a good conscience. Some do not bother about this. This is a devotional people need to read.

  3. In our relationship and services to others we must try as much as possible to offer quality services to others considering the fact that we are not actually working for man but for God and He will reward us accordingly.

  4. I have always worked with all my heart as unto the Lord. I want my Savior to say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

  5. I think there are many reasons people resort to trading sweepings instead of the wheat. In the course of gathering the harvest, one may erroneously gather the chaff and the wheat to sell. I really do not think it is wrong.

    In application to daily life, sometimes we don’t give our best for very genuine reasons such as failure in health, bodily weakness. For instance, I may walk into my office and refuse to attend to patients because I am ill. Even if I try, I may not give my best owing to my own health. A casual onlooker who sees patients unattended to may judge that I am selling sweepings unaware that I am ill.

    Beyond giving our best, I think the Lord is concerned about the motive for trading sweepings. Offering poor quality for THE SAKE OF MAKING PROFIT was God’s focus. We are limited as humans, but in our limitations God is interested in the spirit and motive of my limitations.

    • You’re right, Amara. We are limited and God understands our weaknesses. It’s the deliberate slacking and cheating we’re talking about. Bless you!

  6. “selling even the sweepings with the wheat” I really wish Standard Organization of Nigeria would read this post and the passage and act more. I pray God helps me not sell chaffs with the grain in my own BUSINESS. Thank you for this exposition.

  7. Thank you Ma for this post. Many people don’t know that offering quality service is important and good. Some people cheat their customers by giving them less quality goods, while some refuse to offer quality services to their clients and they think they are doing the right thing. I pray that God will forgive them and make them know the essence of offering quality services to people.

  8. Lord Jesus let me see and know the right things to do,both in my academics and dealings with my follow human beings

  9. Many a times have I been cheated in the market. And I keep asking; what will this business cheaters stand to gain? Even the bible in the book of proverbs condemned cheating. They never think of what they will face in hell.

  10. I don’t ever want to sell the sweepings with the wheat. That is why I give my all in everything I do and it pains me when people are so nonchalant about their jobs. I doubt they care about God’s opinion on the matter, whether he disagrees or not. For Christ’s sake you were paid to do this job so why don’t you just do it?!. As for cheating traders and swindlers, especially those who cheat the poor, a day will come when they will answer for every deed. All we can do is pray that God provides the means for us to cater to our needs and live comfortably. Keep writing aunty?

  11. We are human beings and we most times don’t want to work according to Gods directions we tend to like the idea of sharp sharp.
    For reading this today I pray God give me the insight not to sell the sweepings with the Grain but put my all. Amen

  12. Nice one!! Let us learn and begin to discharge our duties effectively no matter how insignificant we consider them to be. We must do this bearing in mind that God has called us for that purpose and that we will be blessed richly by him(even if humans don’t appreciate our efforts).

  13. I love this post because it speaks to everyone, students, lecturers, traders, politicians, pastors etc. people don’t even realize that in not carrying out your duties and service right you are actually sinning and I hope we see things differently and act accordingly!

  14. This is a rampant issue in the society today. People are getting paid for what they didnt work for. Christaind sholdn’t do that.
    Lord, help me to avoid the temptation of selling the sweepings with the wheat…Amen

  15. Nice one ma, this is what happens in our society, the idea of cheating is rampant, we should know that even if men don’t know, God knows everything… God help us.

  16. Wherever we are,whatever services we are rendering, we should not forget God watches everything and rewards accordingly ,being honest and truthful in dealings especially in business gives one a name that surpasses the little money you want to ‘add to your pocket ‘

  17. It’s not just greediness but also wickedness not to give quality service. Only when people understand that we all would give records someday soon, of our service and dealings with our fellow humans.

  18. What can actually be so fulfilling as doing the right thing? We all are stewards in our different capacities, entrusted with businesses by God to help make a difference in the world rather than do otherwise for our selfish purposes because some day, we will actually give account to our maker

  19. Treat people the way you want them to treat u, use yourself as a example if u are been treated dat way will u be happy?
    More grace to us so we can do the right things ijn amen ??

  20. “Whatever is worth doing, is worth doing well” – Borngreat C
    For the right reasons, at all times we should give in our best to what we do.
    Elegant piece ma
    Thank you

  21. Avoid reaping where you did not sow because what so ever a person do to his neighbor same will be done to him. Each action have a different reaction

  22. Thank you ma for reminding us that whatever we do in our various fields we should do with diligence because finally what we do, we do for God and not for man.

  23. Beyond Religion, this calls for Social Responsibility in the discharge of ones responsibility . We must do the right things in any capacity we find ourselves and not make a mess of the whole situation.

  24. All that is required from us is diligence in all we do, proper treatment breeds proper actions. We ought to standardize and render appropriate services so that we can receive good services too. Dear Lord, help me not to sell the sweepings with the wheat in my business.

  25. I believe that whatever you want to do, you should do it with all your heart no matter what. This post is also in summary of being doing to others as you want to be done to. Teach as you want to be taught, give as you want to receive, sell as you want to buy.

  26. Previously, I didn’t know that the little things we did asides buying and selling could have sweepings with wheat involved. Thank you for enlightening me on this. Truth is, most of us strive to make earns meet but in that thing we do,can God really take glory? God will be glorified if we do things honestly.

  27. We should know that were ever we find ourselves tomorrow we should make good use of it and never try to suppress and cheat the poor.

  28. The church is now a business centre and the pastors and leaders are more concerned about the rich and the poor are being neglected and are treated as nothing.

  29. In whatever we do, we should do it well because we are not only doing it for ourselves but for God also. We have to work with diligence.

  30. In our world today, most people are concerned with making profits by all means. Politicians, ignoring the reason they were voted in, constantly loot money. Pastors preach offerings.Teachers tell their life stories. Profit shouldn’t be the only aim we go into any business but to please our conscience and do what is right and just.

  31. In the bid to make profits in our business, we tend to throw morality aside. We shouldn’t let gluttony and the pursuit for quick money make is lose our souls.

  32. God’s mercy and Grace I ask oh Lord to do all you have given me opportunity to do, with all my heart as until you and not man, in Jesus name… Amen.

  33. Thank u ma’am for this wonderful piece
    We should all try ad much as possible to do things accordingly even when no one seems to be watching us cause God does, even though it won’t be easy atimes but with the grace of God, we shall succeed

  34. May God continue to bless you Ma’am. As my Mum would say “Let your deeds be used to glorify God and uplift humanity.”

  35. Whatever worth doing is what doing well. In our service to God and humanity, we should try to offer quality services. It’s necessary we do it often and on till becomes our lifestyle. May God help us. Thanks and God bless you ma’am.

  36. This is a moral lesson unto us, some times because of greed, and other earthly wishes we carry out functions without a sense of morality. Selling sweepings with the wheat, I pray God give me the spirit to avoid such.

  37. Even the bible says that God searches the heart. So if we don’t offer our services with all sincerity, then our blessings will not be forthcoming. Serving God pays but only when you serve with your heart. I pray to serve God with all my being. Amen.

  38. This is a call to order. Many people have taken things for granted which is seen as not the best. When you are in the position as a leader, you should endeavor to impact in people’s lives. Do what you are ought to do not for praises but for God who sees in secret and rewards in public.

  39. We can relate to this post in every sector of the economy. Even as little as provision shops they wouldn’t measure the right size for you when you are not watching, business integrity has been lost and even believers have lost it too. This post is an awakening to everyone who engages in one business or the other.

  40. Hmmm…this is a very educative post…it affects is in our daily lives, commonly in Nigeria. A saying to back this up is… whatever is worth doing is worth doing well. As much as we have decided to render a service to man, we should finish it up with good works.it does not take away anything from us.

  41. It is always good to do the right thing. Most people derive joy in cheating others, all in the name of making profit. I remember sometime in many Nigeria markets, you’ll pay for original products, only for the seller to give you fake. Some sell cereals with the hind of the cup. I’ve fallen victim to that, lols. This post is actually an insight to these evil practices that have lingered in the Nigeria business atmosphere. I pray that God will give us the grace not sell the sweepings with the wheat.

  42. I believe in doing the right thing at the right time. I don’t know what we gain from cheating others it doesn’t really make sense. Thank you Ma for this wonderful write up.

  43. This is something everyone should read. Its inspiring and motivates. Thanks for the reminder ma. God bless u

  44. We should be mindful of what we do and why we do them, because there is an invisible eye that sees even in the dark. Let us be honest and truthful in our line of endeavours. God grant us the grace to never sell the sweepings with the wheat.

  45. Are you selling the sweep with the wheat is an idea revealing how we Should do onto others what we assume good to us. In application to our daily life, sometimes we don’t give our best very genuine. For instance, as a business man I rather sale the inferior product on same price with the original. I am selling sweepings unaware thinking I am wise. Beyond giving our best, I think Offering poor quality for THE SAKE OF MAKING PROFIT was our selfish focus. We are limited as humans, but in our limitations God is interested.so we ought to strive to overcome cheating. And build a heart of forwardness and trust.

  46. In all we do, we should be impartial in our dealings with other people and also render fair service. God is watching us and He expects us to give our best. Whatever is worth doing, is worth doing well.

  47. IN everything you do we have to give in our best. I have been cheated on the market many a times but I just keep it to myself because I know my God will fight for me.

  48. ‘what is everyone you do to the least of my brothers that you do unto me.’ Believers should be very careful in their dealings with each other and also ensure that whatever the do should be done unto God. Some people cheat others thinking they are wise or intelligent enough. Father I pray together for the grace to sell my wheat without the sweeping.

  49. It’s good to always have a code of conduct in all our dealings. We should learn to give the love that we want to get. Nice one ma.

  50. God bless you Ma.
    Indeed we shouldn’t leave or rather ignore the main reason or calling why we are placed into any position of authority or service… And serve the wheat and wheat alone.

  51. It is good, we understand that we must render an account of our works on earth. Be it our personal business,as civil servants,political leader and religious leaders. Wherever you are placed be sure that you don’t sell sweepings with the wheat,don’t exploit others. I think That’s central message of this post.

  52. Right now people don’t care about anything, they are just so nonchalant about wat they do. May God help us to do whatever we are doing and not only doing it but doing it right bcos we are guilty in one way or the other IJN Amen

  53. God hates it when we cheat people just because they’re unaware, or provide quantity instead of quality.

  54. Sow evil and reap evil, sow good and reap good. There’s no inbetween.
    Whatever that’s what doing is worth doing well. Nobody knows tomorrow and karma is definitely not asleep.

  55. A well thought and educative piece indeed. To tell you the truth I don’t know why we hiide the truth most times…. Take for an instance, you see a business person selling an expired commodity along the good ones.. just to make excess profit. For what! what is the benefit? Honestly, if we can think along the writer’s lane a whole lot can be corrected… God help us in Jesus name amen

  56. If only we humans knew that everything we do is unto God and that God is always watching us wherever we are and takes account of what we do we will do them well with all honesty and sincerity, may God help us not to sell the sweeping with the wheat

  57. Faithfulness in all your dealings. Even the bible account of the unprofitable servant, we are not to tread that line, we should be profitable in whatever we do. Offering quality service to humanity is priceless and God that sees in secret would reward openly. Dear Lord in anyway I’ve erred have mercy on me ams help me from this day forward to offer quality services..
    So inspiring and en encouraging

  58. Ma this a topic we need to chew more on. It’s a sore sight for the eyes to see that an able bodied and physically fit put in less than mediocre effort in his/her work. It’s alsi good you remembered the spiritual aspects of this because God sees how well we work

  59. Selling of sweepings instead of wheat is become conventional in our contemporary society. Because of much devotion for material things,sincerity is now a thing of the past…O Lord forgive us 4we know not what we are doing.

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