You reap what you sow. Even if you’re not a Christian, you probably recognize that phrase. We like to say it when someone has wronged us. Our hope is that they will receive some payback for the pain they have caused us.
But what about you? Are you being mindful of what you’re sowing?
What’s In the Harvest?
We often think of the harvest time as a time of great reward. We have worked hard and now we will finally see the fruits of our labor. That holds true if you look at it from our perspective. But, what about from the perspective of the farmer? Sure, he has planted the seed and knows what is going to come from it, but the harvest time for a farmer is actually a time that requires the most amount of effort. The corn is not going to pick itself. In fact, what would happen if the farmer didn’t pick his crops? They would surely spoil.
Sometimes there is pain in our harvest time, sometimes there is frustration, sometimes there is sickness, and it can be dirty. There is a ton of work to be done; work that isn’t always fun, but is always necessary.
As you look around right now, wouldn’t you say that in about four months it will be time to harvest? Well, I’m telling you to open your eyes and take a good look at what’s right in front of you. These Samaritan fields are ripe. It’s harvest time!
The Harvester isn’t waiting. He’s taking his pay, gathering in this grain that’s ripe for eternal life. Now the Sower is arm in arm with the Harvester, triumphant. That’s the truth of the saying, ‘This one sows, that one harvests.’ I sent you to harvest a field you never worked. Without lifting a finger, you have walked in on a field worked long and hard by others.” John 4: 35-36
Harvest Time is Working Time
When I decided to go into the military, the recruiter sat me down and told me about Basic Training. He explained the details to me: how long it was, what would be expected of me, the challenges women faced, and warnings of things I should be weary of. He was planting seeds to prepare me for what was ahead – the harvest.
As soon as I stepped my foot out of the bus and onto the sidewalk of that military base, reality hit me in the form of several very loud, very proud, broad-rimmed hat wearing training instructors. Their job was to break me down, strip me of what I thought defined me, and turn me into a respectful, disciplined, team-oriented, dedicated soldier. A soldier who needed to learn how to take orders at the drop of a hat, or risk losing life, limb, or fellow comrade.
For 8 weeks, I woke up at 4 a.m. to the sound of Reveille. Like hearing a thief breaking into my house, I leaped out of bed, my aching feet still not recovered from the marching, running, and jumping of the weeks before.
Many cold group showers, obnoxious push-up orders, late-night guard duties, two-minute meals, and embarrassing shout-outs often had me second guessing why I was there.
It was difficult. It was challenging. It was hard work. It was painful. It was often embarrassing. It changed me…
In the exceptionally difficult moments, I had to remind myself of my purpose in being there. I knew that once I finished, I would be a soldier. I would receive a paycheck. I would receive awesome benefits. I would improve the lifestyle of my family. I would be stronger and wiser.
It was harvest time and before I could rest, I literally had to work my tiny heinie off.
Focus on the Harvest or the Reaping?
Who wants to experience pain? Who wants things to be difficult? Who wants to wake up at 4 a.m. still hurting from the day before? Who wants to be yelled at for 8 long weeks? Who wants to get dirty? Who wants to be pushed to their limits?
Unlike me in Basic Training, you may not be able to see the outcome of your harvest. Most of the time, we don’t know what we will reap from all our hard work. But what if you changed your perspective? What if you took your focus off what you will get and put it on reaping your harvest?
I don’t know about you, but I tend to focus on what I don’t have yet. I think about what I’m going to get out of it.
I’ll get a raise. I’ll build the house of my dreams. I’ll be able to buy my family whatever they want. I’ll finally be happy.
But what if we shifted our perspective?
What if instead of looking at the harvest as something to get over with as quickly as possible, we welcome it? When those problems come our way, we welcome them in, knowing that they’re part of the harvest. Problems can be good if you know how to reap them! They’re opportunities for growth; to get stronger, to be wiser, to refocus. Oftentimes, God uses our “problems” to sow seeds for others.
There is a reason God worked for 6 days and rested on the 7th. We are not expected to experience comfort and the benefits of hard work 6 days but only put in the work on the 7th. Hard work is just that: it’s hard.
You might be in Basic Training right now, sweet lady, but try not to focus on your feet hurting. Try not to focus on the cold showers shocking you into submission. Put your combat boots on, stand up tall and straight, look your problems in the face and say, “Bring it! It’s harvest time!”
Here’s the dirty little secret about harvest time: you can reap it or you can make it a problem. It’s all a matter of perspective.
Are you struggling to find purpose in your harvest? Are you focused more on your future than on today? Are you reaping your harvest or are you turning it into a problem? How can you change your perspective?
Connection: See Steven Furtick’s message on Harvest Problems.
Shop: Want to read more about harvest time? Check out The Seven Laws of the Harvest, by John Lawrence.
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