From the Parsonage…
October is always a month I look forward to. I like the fact that crisp morning temperatures call for sweat shirts and joggers
to take the place of the t-shirts and sandals of summer and
that they almost convince me that daily walks are a good
thing! I also love seeing fall apples, Indian corn, gourds,
and pumpkins everywhere! It reminds me that the
preparation of spring and summer is over and the
harvest time has come, the reward for those who
were faithful to sow the seed and care for the infant crops. Of course, that reward will vary according to the diligence of the individual farmer, the size of the field, and the conditions that existed during the season.
I wonder if the same process applies to us as Christians. Our mission is to spread the Gospel and make disciples; that’s pretty plain in scripture. So when I think about the way we do that, it’s fairly easy to compare it to the farming seasons. First, the seeds of salvation must be sown, then cultivated, and, finally, brought to harvest. Simple, right? The difference is that our crops are people, and, unlike plants, people have minds of their own! That can affect the timing of the harvest season!
Sometimes, it’s easy to get discouraged. We pick our field, decide on the best way to plant the seed, and continue to nourish it. Then, we wait in excitement to see our plants begin to grow! But it looks like nothing is happening after all our work! We don’t see a huge change in the people we’ve reached out to, the size of the church hasn’t grown exponentially, and the culture around us seems just as depressing as ever. Where’s our harvest? Maybe we should just give up and keep our “Good News” to ourselves!
But…remember the individual farmer I mentioned. The size of his harvest is also influenced by the fields and the conditions of the season. Some years, the results of his work are easy to see as good crops are brought in; other years, he may glean just enough to keep him going. And every now and then, his barns are overflowing far beyond his wildest expectations!
Like that farmer, we can never truly anticipate the results of our work. The harvest belongs to God, and He will bring it in according to His plan. Our job is to be faithful in the part we do have control over and trust God to do the rest.
“Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;
pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”