I was standing at my kitchen sink the other night washing dishes (my least favorite thing to do, by the way). The TV was on in the background, and something caught my attention. When I looked up to see what it was, I realized that God had whispered to me through a Tropicana commercial.
We nurture the trees all year round so that the fruit is ready at harvest time.
Well, I didn’t memorize it, but that was the jist of what the commercial said.
Nurture. All year. Fruit. Harvest. A flood of thoughts came to my mind.
1. We cannot harvest that which has not be nurtured.
We cannot reap what has not been sown. If we do not put in the work, we will not reap the benefits.
“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-2
2. That being said, we reap what we sow.
Whatever we spend our time, money, talents, and energy on will be what we gain at harvest time, whether good or bad. If we spend our days on the decaying things of this world, that is what we will be left with. But if we spend our days sowing the seeds of the gospel in our own lives and in those God has placed in our lives, we will be prepared for whatever He has for us come harvest time.
“Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life.” John 3:6
“Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.” Galatians 6:8
3. We do not reap what we sow immediately.
It takes work. Hard work. And it takes time. We may not see the results of our work for years, if ever (see my post on Hebrews 11 for more on that). All throughout Scripture you see the phrase “in due time”. Sanctification does not happen at the point of salvation, and we all know that Rome wasn’t built in a day. We also know that God’s timing is perfect, and He knows exactly when we should see the harvest. We must wait on Him, and keep on sowing.
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.” Galatians 6:9-10
“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.” Ecclesiastes 3:11-13
4. We reap more than we sow.
The harvest is always greater than the seed planted. This truth is significant as well as sobering. Whatever good we receive in the harvest is given to us by God, Who owes us nothing. However, the key to reaping more is giving more. The more we give sacrificially (depending on Him to provide), the more we shall receive.
“They all depend on You to give them food as they need it. When You supply it, they gather it. You open Your hand to feed them, and they are richly satisfied.” Psalm 104:27-28
“Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” Luke 6:38
5. And finally, we cannot change the harvests of the past, we must look to the harvest in our future.
If we failed to produce a good crop last year, we cannot waste time this year feeling sorry for ourselves. That will only cause us to fail again this year! We must repent and look to the future. But we also cannot live on last year’s harvest. If we obeyed the Lord and did the work and produced a bountiful, satisfying harvest last year, that cannot be enough. This is a new year. Just because He blessed us last year because of our obedience, does not mean that we get a free pass this time around.
We must continue sowing, for His glory and for our joy.
“But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:12-14