A time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted.
Here in Iowa we understand the planting and harvesting process. It is our mainstay in the agricultural world. Every spring the farmers wait until the weather and soil is just right and then they go out into the fields to plant the seeds. The ground needs to be warm enough for the seeds to germinate and wet enough for them to start to grow. The waiting for just the right moment is hard at times but crucial, for if the seeds are planted to soon the plants may come up and a frost may kill them. Then they have to replant. If it is too wet the seeds will rot and not grow. So, for the farmer the soil is important to the planting process.
In the fall, the farmer harvests the crops that he planted in the spring. Once again the weather and soil need to be just right. The plants have reached full maturity and are ready to be uprooted from the fields. The machinery helps to harvest the crops quickly. There is just a right time to harvest it though. The produce needs to be at just the right moisture level or it may rot in storage if too wet or cause a fire if too dry. They need to be harvested when the weather is good.
In between planting and harvesting, there are many things that take place. Some are in the farmers control and others are not. God controls the weather. How much rain will fall and when. How much the sun will shine. Even if there will be storms with strong winds or hail. The weather is in God’s hands and it may be harsh for one farmer but not for another. The truth be told the crops need a certain amount of hardship to grow strong. Only God knows exactly how much that is.
The farmer works to remove the weeds that like to grow and choke out the plants. He adds fertilizer and pesticides to help protect the plants and give them the food they need. The farmer is always getting ready for the harvest by preparing his equipment for the next step of the process.
As a Christian, God planted the seed of His Word in our lives and drew us to Himself. He may have used someone else to plant that seed, but He made sure our heart was ready to receive it. He allows us to go through various storms to help us to grow to be strong and depend on Him.
He gives us His Word and other people to help us to weed us the plants that lead us to believe the lies of this world. When we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. (John 3:16) He continues to help us to grow by bringing people into our lives who will call us out when we sin and need to repent. These people are used by God to challenge us in our walk with Him. Sometimes they even protect us from ourselves.
During the in between times we are provided with resources that deepen our roots so that we can be strong when the storms come our way. Those resources are other believers, His Word and Bible studies. Spending time with God in prayer and fellowship with others give us the strength we need for each day. God’s grace is sufficient when we are weak.
When we come to maturity God provides a harvest that is abundant. The harvest may be the opportunity to see someone else come to Christ and be a part of helping them to grow in God. Our ultimate harvest is when we get to go to heaven and spend all of eternity with Him. May we be found faithful in serving God during the planting and harvesting of the fields of men’s souls.
So, as we think about planting and harvesting of souls, let’s ask a couple of questions of ourselves. Do a little self evaluation and see where God has you serving Him. What stage are we in as we develop ourselves with God’s help from a seed to full fruition? Where are we at today? Are we in a storm or enjoying the sunshine? Are we planting seeds of God’s Word? Are we helping to grow the harvest? Are we helping to bring in the harvest? The fields are white for harvest. Seek the Lord of the harvest and ask what He would have of you to do. (John 4:35)
Father, you are the creator of all things. You plant the Word in our hearts and walk with us through the storms of life to help us to grow in a deeper relationship with You. Help us to trust You to know what is best and to depend upon You and Your Word. Continue to grow Your Word in our lives each day. Help us to allow You to use us in the lives of others. To plant the seeds of the Gospel and to help bring the harvest to You. May we be willing tools in Your hands. In Jesus’s Name Amen.