By Rev. Cathy Bayert
“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:22)
“Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.” (Psalm 126:5-6)
The time of rejoicing has come. The labor of nurture is over. Weeding and pruning is dwindling as well as watering that fruit be collected. Joyful neighbors share their harvests: zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, green beans. Ranchers gather baled hay into barns for the winter months when their animals will need sustenance beyond what they can find from the earth’s frozen stores. Some get frustrated as parts are hurriedly ordered from far away places to repair broken swathers and balers. Frenzied mechanics rush to perform mechanical wizardry that the harvest can be brought in.
Just before the fair, last minute finishing touches are made to both animals and other items for display. The fair reminds us we are all harvesters of sorts whether it is the harvest of a beautiful quilt or painting, the fruit of nimble fingers and creative hearts or the local stage where the hours of practice find their produce in song. Jesus understood the language of harvest even among fishermen. Those called as disciples left their earthly fishing holes and fished with him for the souls of men.
He compared God’s word to seeds being sown into the hearts of people hoping for a harvest of righteousness. Some of the hearts where the seed of God’s word was sown were hard because of unbelief and the seed was totally unfruitful, not even the hope of a plant or a harvest. Some was sown in stony ground and although the seed was received gladly at first, life’s trials or persecution caused the plant to wither before it fruited. Some fell among thorns or weeds which like the cares of this world or the deceitfulness of riches choked the plant before it fruited. But some seed fell into good ground and brought forth abundant fruit: thirty, sixty or a hundred times.
In one sense, every day should be a day of harvest. Like the laborers in God’s kingdom, sometimes we are called to cultivate the soil or sow, other times to weed, or water or prune, or finally harvest. Jesus looked for figs on the fig tree even when it wasn’t the season of figs. When it was found barren, he cursed it and it withered from the roots. We are not on the earthly seasonal timetable our time is always ready. It’s always seedtime somewhere on the earth and it is always harvest time somewhere.
“Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (John 4:35 NIV). There will be a final soul harvest; may be very soon.
Prayer: Gracious God, we are grateful for the succession of seasons from planting to harvest. Your faithfulness promises that the labor of sowing and weeding and watering and cultivating will be followed by the reward of the harvest. Grant that we may be faithful workers in Your harvest. In Christ’s name, Amen.
Pastor Cathy Bayert
First Baptist Church