A Bountiful Harvest
Here on the farm, the maple trees are ablaze with glorious red leaves. Hay season has ended, but the harvest is still underway, with soybeans and corn ready for gathering. Harvest generally begins in mid-September and can run as late as Thanksgiving. In fact, we’ve had years when we gathered corn in the snow – which is not my preference! But farmers do what we must when we must. This ritual depends on acreage, equipment, weather conditions, and helping hands.
If I were to ask my sons what they remember about harvest seasons when they were little boys, they would undoubtedly recall riding on top of the gravity box bursting with corn as it headed back to the barns and then on to the mill. And shelling the field corn for the chickens – especially if they could use the hand-crank corn sheller. Of course, they always clamored to drive the tractor, but their father usually did that – little boys and big boys are fascinated by anything with gears and wheels. The dirtier they could get, the better.
Eager to help, our boys were our field hands, but when we needed extra assistance, both grandpas jumped at the chance to work on the farm. Three generations labored shoulder to shoulder to harvest the fields.
Jesus often used farmer’s analogies that resonate with my life. In Matthew 9:36-38, NLT, the apostle writes: “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He told his disciples, ‘“The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So, pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.’”
As followers of Jesus, we are the field hands who must be prepared to share in a different kind of harvest, a harvest of souls. That means offering the gospel “in season and out of season” (II Timothy 4:1-2, NLT). In the same book, verse 2:24, the Apostle Paul further instructs us on the methods for sharing the gospel. We “must not quarrel, but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people.”
This hits home for me. My patience wears thin when people rub me the wrong way. And I can’t teach what I don’t know. So, spending time in God’s Word and seeking His will for every season of my life is what I must do – daily! So is practicing patience with difficult people. I need to walk the talk. I’m reminded of what a wise pastor once told me: “We must be careful how we live our lives; we may be the only Bible some people read.”
The news today is often bleak. Tempers flair and temptations abound. But the time for gathering the harvest is now. Let’s become the hands and feet of Jesus as we go through the day. Let’s do the best we can do for the kingdom of God while we’re here on earth. Let’s walk the talk.