May 17, 2017
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.– Ecclesiastes 3:1-2
A couple weeks after graduating from high school, I began working on a farm. I spent the summer tearing down an old barn and helping customers as needed. When the fall came, I had to get up at six or seven in the morning, work all day, and would not get back home until after midnight. It was harvest time, so we were out there from as early as possible until it was too dark to see in the fields. In the winter, we began shipping all the wheat from the harvest. We filled railroad cars and semi-trucks that carried the product to distributors. And in the springtime, we began to treat the seed that the farmers held back for planting. We would also sell some seeds and fertilizer, repair fencing, and do other maintenance projects. Then we started the cycle all over again in the summer.
During this time in my life, I developed a great respect for farmers. The ones I knew were very hard working and diligent. For them, the fall was a time of excitement, because that was when they would get a reward for their labor. During all the other seasons a farmer might put off a task for various reasons, but not at harvest time! At harvest, nothing could distract them. They did not want to take a chance on another rain storm coming, or a hail storm, or something else that could destroy their crop. Once it was ready, they harvested it as soon as they could.
Recently I have thought, What would have happened if the farmers had just left the crops in the fields? That sounds almost inconceivable, because no one would want to leave the rewards of their labor to just rot in a field. Yet during a recent trip to Romania, I saw some fields that had not been harvested. There were stalks with corn still on them, and fields of cabbages just rotting. What could have happened? Did someone pass away, or move to another town? Well, one thing I do know is that someone put time and effort into those fields to produce something, but in the end it was wasted.
As Christians, we cultivate crops in our lives for the Lord. It takes diligence to prepare the soil of our hearts and to plant the promises of His Word inside. Then we keep weeds out—the worldly things that are displeasing to God. We water the seed with prayer and consecration. When we do these things, there will come a time when we need to start harvesting a crop in our spiritual lives. That may be service to God—perhaps helping at church or giving a testimony that is more effective. Or it might mean receiving deeper experiences or other promises from God. This is the time to “pluck up that which is planted.”
As we prepare our hearts, the Lord is faithful to bring us to a place where we will enjoy a harvest. When we do our part, He will give the increase. May we never leave a blessing un-gathered!