Have you ever been in a field right before harvest?
You can feel the anticipation in the atmosphere. The farms are buzzing with activity – tractors getting last-minute tune-ups, silos and barns being prepped to receive the bounty, and people working everywhere working on the one thing that they have been preparing all year for. It’s time to bring in the harvest! Across our vast prairie, heads of wheat are bulging skyward. The color has turned a rich golden brown – the “amber waves of grain” the poet referred to. In the millions of acres of corn across the midwest, tightly packed rows that a few months ago seemed small and widely-spaced are now a dense forest of proud emerald stocks, bursting with plump ears screaming to be shucked. Potatoes growing underground, unseen except for a thick groundcover of vines. Massive tubers full of vitamins, protein, and starch are waiting to be dug out of the ground, washed, bagged, and sent around the country to feed hungry families or turned into delicious french fries. Fruit trees are heavy with their bounty. The branches of a single tree are sagging from the weight of hundreds of apples, cherries, or pears. Many hundreds of pounds of sustenance and delight are dripping in anticipation of being picked…or to be wasted if allowed to fall to the ground. It’s harvest time. Just because it happens every year doesn’t make it any less of a miracle.
t’s no accident that the Bible compares the winning of souls to a harvest. We are responsible to plant the seeds of the Word of God, and to faithfully water them with evangelism, discipleship, and Holy Spirit-empowered ministry. But ultimately, it is God who brings the harvest. Paul said in 1 Corinthians that (6) “Neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” (8) “For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.” The fascinating thing about the natural harvest is that it is time-sensitive. All that fruit? All that grain? It will be lost if the harvesters are not ready and willing in the appointed time. In some cases, there is a window of only a few weeks or days to bring in the full harvest. Any time wasted means lost product, never to be gotten back. We need to have the same posture of expectancy towards the spiritual harvest as our farmers do towards the natural harvest. We need to prepare as if it is the most important part of our entire year (because it is). We need to minister as if success depended on us being ready when the time is right (because it does). We need to listen to the Holy Spirit as if He were the key to all the evangelism we ever undertake (because He is!).
We need to be ok with being uncomfortable in order to gather the Harvest.
Be ok with a different parking spot, a different seat, a long line to drop off your kids at kids church. Be ok with adding worship services, changing methods in order to gather and steward the Harvest. As we enter this season of harvest, share about what God is doing in your church or ministry. How are you being faithful to tend the field you have been assigned? How is God bringing the increase in your ministry? And what fruit are you seeing as you co-labor with God in His harvest fields? I am looking forward to hearing from you! In Christ, Steve Holder