It's October...in Iowa...on the farm, which means one thing - harvest is in full swing. Combines are rolling, wagons are loaded and semis are moving. Farmers are busy...they are harvesting corn and beans, working on machinery and watching the markets. Farmers' wives are busy too, and the other day it was my mind that was working overtime.
Harvest was happening everywhere...my husband has been spending lots of time in the combine, our neighbors are doing the same and even my little boys were combining candy corn with their toys the other day. You can't drive down our roads without seeing a combine or being slowed by a tractor and wagon. So I got to thinking about harvest and a few things crossed my mind...
Not everyone harvests the same...we are combining organic black beans (Like Chipotles? You may be eating our beans.) and our equipment looks a bit different than the guy who's harvesting conventional soybeans.
Harvest is really a process, not a one time thing. Combining is a big part of it, but the harvest isn't over when the combine leaves the field. The crop needs to be moved from the field to the buyer or brought to the farm to be stored. Then it has to be marketed and transported to where it will be used or processed.
Harvest takes time and requires work. Farmers are often up early and to bed late...the time in between is spent working hard. The work is physical, but also includes some stress and these days requires constant learning with all the technology that is involved.
Harvest is something we can't control. Weather conditions must be right, the crop must be mature and equipment has to work. None of this happens with the flip of a switch.
Harvest is not a one man job. Like I said there's much more to harvest than combining, so many farmers don't do this job alone. My husband and his brother and even our son work together to get the job done. Someone combines, another hauls loads and another puts the crop into the bin.
Harvest is a time many enjoy. Clearly, there are obvious reasons - this is when farmers make their income for the year, but I think there's more. People on the farm enjoy this busy time because it's what they do, what they work for all year long. They enjoy reaping what they sowed and seeing the fruits of their labor.
As I thought about all that was taking place around me, my thoughts shifted from the physical to the spiritual. Do you realize it's harvest time for you? Yes, even you who lives in the city miles from an acre of farmland. Even you who doesn't know the difference between John Deere and Case IH. Friend, if you are a follower of Christ, God has work for you to do...seeds to plant and a crop to harvest. Matthew 9:37 says, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few." Are you willing to let Him send you?
Just like on the farm, the process may look different. You may use different equipment and methods than your neighbor, but that's OK...different crops require that. Farms across the country harvest a number of crops - corn, beans, oats, hay and wheat and spiritually the harvest is quite diverse as well. Personally, we can harvest the fruit of our good deeds, the fruit of the Spirit and souls into the kingdom.
Harvest on the farm usually happens every year, but in our lives there's not a set schedule. There is a guarantee though of an investment of time and work. We can't expect to produce good things and Godly results if we don't invest and do the work of planting the seeds. A few words of wisdom about this -
"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." (Galatians 6:7-9)
"Do not plant two kinds of seed in your vineyard; if you do, not only the crops you plant but also the fruit of the vineyard will be defiled." (Deut. 22:9)
Harvest is unpredictable...we don't know what the weather will do or how the crop will yield. Friend, this is even more true in a spiritual sense. We don't know the outcome of our work or how people will respond to our efforts, but that's OK. Our job is obedience, God's is results. Do the work and trust God with the harvest. "...because when farmers plow and thresh they should be able to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest." (1 Corinthians 9:10b)
Finally, harvest is a time when others are watching. The other day my little guy and I rode a round in the combine and clearly he's done this much more than me. He's only 4, but he "knew" what how to move the augur, what button started something and how to line up the head. Jesse wasn't taught any of this, but he learned through observation and by following his dad's example. May we remember this as we plant and reap spiritually.
Friend, I could go on because God has much to say about the harvest, but instead of closing with my thoughts I'll finish with a few more from Him -
"Sluggards do not plow in season, so at harvest time they find nothing." (Proverbs 20:4)
"Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest, you must rest." (Exodus 34:21)
"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." (Hebrews 12:11)
"Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains." (James 5:7)
This is only the beginning of what the Bible has to say about harvest...I encourage you to dig in more for yourself. I also pray you will spend some time thinking about the crop you are planting and talk with God about what He created YOU to harvest.
Heavenly Father, you are the Lord of the Harvest and Lord we thank you for growing the crop. I'm grateful for the beans and corn You've blessed us with this year. As I picture the corn flowing out of the augur and into the wagon, I long for You to see the same in me spiritually. Help me plow up the soil of my heart, plant good seeds and produce fruit. The crop Job is growing doesn't just impact him or our family, it helps feed the world. Lord, I know the same can be true of the spiritual work you are doing in me; so I ask you to help me shine my light so that others can see and be fed by your Word. Father, the harvest is plentiful...send out your workers. I pray You will select and use each one who reads these words. In Jesus' Name, Amen