Harvest Time

October 12, 2013

Harvest Time

When I was a boy I looked forward to harvest time.  For my father, it meant long days of hard work, but I never heard him complain.  Back then many farmers still harvested their grain with what was called a binder.  It cut the grain and tied it into bundles.  I remember following my grandfather as he drove the binder pulled by four head of horses.  I helped my mother gather the bundles and put them into shocks.  Then came the day when the thrashing machine came to our place.  All the neighbors came with their team and hayrack to gather the bundles and take them to the thrashing machine.  It was thrilling to see the grain pouring out one spout, and the straw blown out of a big pipe that formed what was called the straw stack.  The harvest was the reward for days of hard work.

Farmers aren’t the only ones who harvest.  Perhaps we don’t realize it, but Galatians 6:6-8 says all of us are sowing and reaping.  “Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.   Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.    For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” We reap what we sow.  That’s a law of nature, as well as a spiritual law.  Proverbs 22:8 says, “He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity.”  If we want the satisfaction of a fruitful harvest, we need to be careful about what we sow.

It’s unfortunate that so much is sown to the flesh and little is sown to the Spirit.  It may be that we aren’t sowing to sinful pleasure, but much of our time can be spent in just sowing for earthly pleasure.  In that category are found things like entertainment, hobbies, and social commitments.  People can get themselves so occupied with these things that they have little or no time for spiritual things.

Our text says that “He that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”  Perhaps it should be pointed out that this isn’t saying that we gain life everlasting by what we do.  That interpretation would be a contradiction to other Scripture.  It means that we are adding quality to the life we shall enjoy in the hereafter.  In Matthew 6:19-20 Jesus taught us that we can and should lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven.  “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:    But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.”

We lay up eternal rewards by what we do for God.  Psalm 41:1 says, “Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.” Likewise Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” What we do for God will not seem like a sacrifice if we live with eternal values in view.

Successful farmers live in anticipation of the harvest.  Until then, they go on completing their responsibility.  They cultivate their crops.  They vaccinate their calves and pigs.  With great satisfaction they go to the bank to deposit their checks after selling their grain and livestock.  We as Christians may have to wait until we get to heaven to reap the harvest and deposit our checks.  If we have sown only to the flesh, there will be no checks to deposit.  Our wood, hay and stubble will have been consumed, as it says in I Corinthians 3:12-13.  “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;    Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.”

Of course, we need to use common sense with regard to the distribution of our wealth.  We needn’t live so frugally that we dress shabbily and don’t eat properly.  It isn’t wrong to set money aside for retirement.  I have heard it said of some, at their death, that “They gave away every penny they ever earned.” I don’t know if I should take that as a compliment to them or an indictment.

Our money isn’t the only thing we have to give to God.  We can serve God with our time and talents.  Some lay up treasures in heaven by doing janitor work at the church or by mowing the lawn.  Others do it by teaching a Sunday school class.  Some do it by being a good Samaritan and helping the needy.  God asked Moses, “What is that in thine hand?” (Exodus 4:2) All he had was a rod, but God used it to give him power and authority.  God gives all of his people one or more talents by which to serve him.

We are privileged to reap some of the harvest in this life.  God says in Galatians 6:9  “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”  He doesn’t tell us when that due season will be.  Therefore we shouldn’t be weary in well doing for we know not when we shall reap.  I Peter 3:10-13 says, “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:    Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.    For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?”

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