When we have a goal or desired outcome that we would like to attain, we usually want to skip the process required and go directly to the reward. In our instant gratification society, we cultivate the idea of this misguided method. Yet, in order to enjoy the harvest, there are typically necessary steps to be taken before we can reap the benefits.
There is quite a bit of symbolism attached to the word harvest, which often represents abundance and bounty. Often when we think of the word harvest, our mind conjures images of the reward of farming. We imagine all the fruit of their labor, without giving much thought as to what action it took to get there. If a farmer decides to take short cuts or skip necessary steps, he may find that in the end there is a harvest/crop failure, which means that his crop yield is either absent or significantly less than his expectations. Although the metaphor of farming is being used here, this can apply to any area of our life including financial, professional, relational, spiritual, etc. I’m going to share you with you the essential steps for creating a bountiful harvest.
Groundwork comes first. Scripture has a lot to say about the importance of the condition of the soil in the ability to produce a harvest. The parable of the sower shows us many examples of the outcomes of different types of soil. We can see the result of a shallow, hard, or anxious heart. Where our heart is when we begin things can dictate how things turn out. Understanding what our motives are behind why we’re choosing to pursue what we’re chasing after can help us decide if it is safe to move forward. Is our motive being prompted by the Spirit or by the flesh? If we are doing something just because someone else desires it and we want to gain their approval, or because we are resentful and have a bitter heart, our objective might not turn out the way we hoped. Spending time in prayer to determine what direction God wants you to go before you begin a journey is important. The groundwork towards our goal might require some actual work. Plowing soil is not easy, and the work God calls you to do in preparation may not be easy either.
Sowing is the next step after laying the right groundwork. Sowing requires action. First, we cannot expect that we will receive anything if we are lazy. The book of Proverbs has a lot to say about lazy people. It tells us that their “hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth” (10:4). We are called to be diligent in whatever God has called us to do, which requires work and effort. Second, what we sow is important. Most of us have heard the popular saying “You reap what you sow,” which is also in scripture. Galatians 6 explains the importance of what we sow, whether it’s from the flesh or from the Spirit. Depending on what you’re working toward, sowing might include sharing the gospel through words or actions, going back to school, creating a budget or savings account, or setting goals and taking the steps necessary towards achieving them. When you start being intentional in moving towards whatever God is calling you to, you are sowing seeds.
There is still action that needs to be taken once seeds have been sown. Tending can include a number of different activities, but two key elements to note are patience and faith. These two are essential for a bountiful harvest. Having the faith to take the steps necessary when we don’t understand God’s plan is essential. Often God calls to do things that don’t make sense to us. It can be hard to follow through when we don’t understand or see the importance. However, obedience is important (Psalms 128:1). Patience is also crucial in this process. God’s timing is not our timing, and sometimes it seems as if God is running behind. However, it is imperative that we be patient and wait. If a farmer proceeds to gather too early, he may damage his crop. Likewise, if we start making moves before God consents, we may place ourselves outside of what He has in the making and lose out on the harvest that He has planned for us. Tending well requires being content with where we are in the journey right now.
The process required to produce an abundant harvest is important. However, there are times that we do the groundwork, the sowing, and the tending exactly as we believe God has asked us and the harvest isn’t plentiful. As a matter of fact, it may appear to be a complete failure with no harvest at all. If you find yourself in this place, take heart friend. It is not over, and God is there with you. If you find yourself in this difficult season, or perhaps you are already there, it is important for you to find good counsel through your church or a trusted friend. Perhaps you may need some additional help with what you are experiencing, a counselor can help you navigate through this difficult time. Remember, “Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning” (Psalms 30:5).
By: Misty Tafao, LADC