Harvest time is winding down now in the Midwest. Corn and bean fields have been harvested and you will see empty fields as winter approaches. I pray farmers had a successful year and reaped a tremendous harvest for all of the hard work they have done. David Bly said, “Striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest where you have not planted.”
If you read my previous blog about “You Don’t have to be a Farmer to Reap a Harvest” then you know I grew up on a farm in Nebraska. I saw first hand the hard work and time it takes to prepare the ground, plant the seed, maintain the crop, and then harvest it.
You've heard a lot about sowing and reaping. Everyone's heard the expression “you get what you deserve” or “You get what you put into it” or “Karma” or .... “You reap what you sow.” I wanted to dig a little deeper about the sowing and reaping concept, about what it takes to reap a successful harvest.
Here are a few things we will be looking at:
What seeds have you been sowing? Where?
How are you taking care of those crops?
Are you sowing sparingly or are you a cheerful giver?
In this blog post I will be referring to a lot of scripture from the Bible, particularly The Parable of the Sower mentioned in both books Luke and Mark. Whether you're a Believer of the Bible or not, you most likely believe in sowing and reaping or “karma” as you might say. For the purposes of this blog I'm going to be using Scripture and breaking it down and applying it to life in general. I am by no means, a bible scholar, I’m using the word of God and applying it as I understand it, although there may be different versions/interpretations. If you don’t agree, feel free to do your own research and/or share what your interpretation is.
Let’s get started first, by looking at the definition of the word Harvest. According to Wikipedia, “Harvest is the process of gathering ripe crops from the fields. Reaping is the cutting of grain or pulse for harvest, typically using a scythe, sickle, or reaper. The harvest marks the end of the growing season, or the growing cycle for a particular crop, and social importance of this event makes it the focus of seasonal celebrations such as a harvest festival, found in many religions. On smaller farms with minimal mechanization harvesting is the most labor-intensive activity of the growing season. On large mechanized farms harvesting utilizes the most expensive and sophisticated farm machinery, such as the combine harvester.”
Now you know what the definition of harvest is in the sense of farming, we will look at two stories of the Parable of the Sower in the new testament of the Bible.
Mark 4:3-8 "Listen to this! Behold, the sower went out to sow; as he was sowing, some seed fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate it up. "Other seed fell on the rocky ground where it did not have much soil; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of soil. "And after the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. "Other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. "Other seeds fell into the good soil, and as they grew up and increased, they yielded a crop and produced thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold."
Luke 8:11-15 "Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God."Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved. "Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. "The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. "But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance."
What have you been growing this season?
In the parable that Luke and Mark talk about in the Gospel, they are talking about the seed that is sowed which is actually the word of God. But just for a minute let's think about that seed and apply it in a different way.
Time- Besides the spiritual, let's take that seed and think of it as your time…. where are you investing your time? Do you tend to sit around and watch TV? Is that going to reap a harvest in your own personal life by watching that soap opera full of negative drama, murder, and affairs? Is it going to reap a harvest in someone else's life? What legacy are you leaving behind? What impact are you leaving your children/world once you're gone from the face of this earth? Are you sowing good seeds for a plentiful harvest for your eternity?
There’s an old saying that says “time is money” but as I have learned from great mentors, time is not equal to money because we can earn back money but we cannot earn back our time. So your time is valuable. Where are you sowing the seeds with the little bit of time that you have left? Are you like the seed that fell among the thorns and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and pleasures and bring no fruit to maturity? Or are you bearing fruit with perseverance?
Relationships-Let’s look at relationships as a seed. What seeds are you sowing with your current relationships? Are these relationships that are being built on rocky ground? Are these relationships that will be scorched and have no roots and eventually just wither away? Or are these relationships built on fertile soil and solid ground developing roots that will yield an abundant harvest? Where are your seeds being sown? Into your career, family, dreams, charity? Are you investing your time wisely? Are you going to reap an abundant harvest that will have an effect on other people like family, colleagues, neighbors, and have an effect on eternity? Here’s a great quote I just saw a few days ago, “The goal of life is not to have our lives mean something to ourselves. The goal of life is to have our lives mean something to others.” – Simon Sinek
Planting the Seed and Taking Care of the Crop- I had a chance to interview my precious, loving, strong Grandma, Rose Kavanaugh, about her experience on the farm back in her days, before we used all the chemicals we use now. For fertilizer they used what they called a Manure Spreader….yes, that was actually a piece of equipment back then. I don’t think I need to explain in detail! It does take science though, when taking care of these crops. If you use too much fertilizer you can burn up the seeds, so you have to use enough to help nourish the crop without harming it. Some farmers were blessed and they could afford irrigation to be sure their crops were watered properly. My family, on the other hand, never had that opportunity so we had to rely on God to provide rain for the crops.
The Harvest- Rose commented on how today's harvest is much more plentiful than in the past, due to technology and other advancements that yield a bigger crop. We now can yield a harvest of corn, for example, 200 bushels/acre where as years ago they would be lucky to get 50-80 bushels/acre. They also can cover more ground when harvesting using Combines with eight row corn pickers (maybe even more) vs. one row during Grandma’s time. What kind of equipment are you using today in your business to stay competitive, to be sure you are reaping the best possible harvest in an efficient manner?
Sowing Seeds - Not only did my grandparents sow seeds in the field but they sowed seeds in other ways, volunteering at the church, praying, and showing hospitality. (Grandma makes the best potato salad ever!) I thank Grandma for her constant prayers for us; that must be how I survived my 20’s.
2 Corinthians 9:6-11- Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed as it is written, "he scattered abroad, he gave to the poor, his righteousness endures forever." Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God.
Need I say more? Those who sow sparingly will reap sparingly. Be a cheerful giver!
Are you sowing seeds of peace or plowing iniquity?
James 3:18- “And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace”….conversely Job 4:8 says "According to what I have seen, those who plow iniquity and those who sow trouble harvest it.”
To paraphrase, if you're sowing the seeds of sin, unrighteousness, hatred, anger, unforgiveness, lust,…. guess what you are going to harvest? Probably the same thing you are sowing. Be careful what you're thinking about, be careful what you're saying, what comes out of your mouth, what you're doing, and with whom you're hanging around. As an employee, are giving 100% at work and being honest with your time spent at the office or are you constantly checking your phone, social media, personal emails while on the clock? Employers, supervisors…are you treating your staff/colleagues with respect and treating/paying them fairly?
Galatians 6:7-8 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
How to Reap a Plentiful Harvest?
Write down a clear plan! Know your purpose, plan, and prepare properly.
Habbakuk 2:2 says "and the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.” That’s right, writing down goals originated here.
2. Work diligently by planting and maintaining your crops, your products, services, relationships, projects. Would you like to reap great health? Make time to exercise. It’s not always fun trying to stay in shape, it’s hard work but the reward is worth the work. The author of Hebrews says it perfectly…..
Heb. 12:11- No discipline seems pleasant at the time but painful. Later however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
3. Be ready to harvest when the time is right. Be patient and let your crop grow to full maturity but don’t procrastinate too much or the winter will soon be upon you, and it will be too late to retrieve your harvest.
“The law of harvest is to reap more than you sow. Sow an act, and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny.” – James Allen
When you reap a harvest, share with others, donate to your local charity/ministry. You are blessed to be a blessing! You don’t always have to donate your money, you can donate your time as well.
I will end with this thought from Winston Churchill, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
By yours truly, Your Gig Girl, formerly the Country Girl!