“Then three of the thirty chief men went down at harvest time and came to David.”2 Samuel 23:13
When we visited southern Germany a few years ago, I was often drawn outside to view the vast landscape, where I repeatedly stopped to admire the splendid flowering canola fields. I listened to the sweet humming of the bees, which had seized the opportunity to do their work with astonishing diligence. Along the paths, the flowering fruit trees attracted my eye. On the fields, the grain sprouted from the green stalks, and the whole glorious sight hinted at an approaching harvest!
With great expectation and joy, the farmers look forward to a good harvest! As they prepare their fields in the spring and plant the precious seed into the ground, they are most certainly thinking of the harvest. All sowing happens in hope of thriving and harvest. Then, after a good summer of ripening and waiting, the grain is cut, the fruit is picked, and the root vegetables are collected. The long anticipated joyous occasion has arrived!
As a child, I loved to follow my father to the fields just days before the harvest. He would check to see when the harvesting could begin. Everything was carefully prepared for the first harvest day! I remember the sound of the scythes mowing the field borders to prepare the way for the machines. Already a certain joy was audible with this preparation. Then came the day when out in the fields one could see the farmers busy with the harvest. These were happy days!
It is a great blessing when one can have a plentiful harvest, giving no cause for sadness. The harvest is truly a great blessing for the sustenance of everyone on this earth. “The Lord has been mindful of us; He will bless us” is the prayer in Psalm 115:12. It is therefore a good custom to celebrate Thanksgiving in God’s honor. Thanksgiving Day gives us the best opportunity to offer our Lord His due and a pleasing peace offering of our hearts and lips. In 2 Samuel 23, we read of three noblemen who came to King David at the time of the harvest. They were heroes and wanted to honor him and show their support.
This is a good example for us. Should we not also approach our King with thanksgiving and show Him how much we appreciate His care and His manifold blessings? Year after year, He has faithfully given us a harvest and made His promise true: “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22). It should not be taken for granted that we bring in a harvest every year, for the harvest is our bread, and bread is our life!
It was just days before the harvest. The undulating harvest fields made a very pleasant impression. On a Sunday afternoon, a farmer and his son had gone out to visit his cornfields. As he grabbed the individual ears of corn, a shock ran through him! His son looked into his pale face and asked, concerned: “What is it, father?” “We will not have a harvest this year!” he said with emotion. “There is a disease in the corn!” Someone had used a wrong or overly potent herbicide, and most of the kernels were black.
No harvest! What a worrying discovery! Yes, there are sometimes reasons for a non-existent harvest. One thing is for sure: man does not have the power for growth and thriving. The harvest is always a gift from God, and we owe it to Him alone.
In addition to the harvest of grain and fruits, which are really vital for us, there is also the sowing and harvesting in our spiritual lives. God provides us with many gifts and material goods that we should use for sowing in order to receive a personal life harvest. What does the Bible tell us about this? In 2 Corinthians 9:6, we read: “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” The prophet Hosea wrote: “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy” (Hosea 10:12). The experienced Solomon said: “He who sows iniquity will reap sorrow” (Proverbs 22:8). We see that there are good and evil sowing methods, and Paul set an unchanging principle: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7). It cannot be any different!
We sow with our words and works. Someone wrote: “That there will be an ‘autumn’ in our lives should not make us sad. But it will be terribly sad when ‘autumn’ arrives and nothing has grown!” Yes, an autumn without fruit and without harvest would be a terrible state of emergency! Therefore, let us pray with the poet: “O Savior, teach me to only dedicate my years to Your ministry; from today to the grave, let me sow seeds for an everlasting life.”
Even if we sometimes have to sow the good seed with tears, God’s Word tells us that we will reap with joy. Therefore, the natural harvest, as well as the blessed life harvest, gives us every reason to go to the King and give Him our most reverent thanksgiving and worship.