We stand in the harvest time
And praise Your gifts.
In life and in eternity,
You store for us
What we have sown.
As the Seed, so the Harvest
When we speak of harvesting, we mean the result of a work, perhaps of a laborious effort, which we have consciously made towards this day. The harvest ultimately shows us how our efforts have paid off. It lets us know whether we have wisely considered all the things that make a good harvest possible. It is obvious to everyone that we cannot first wait until the day of harvest to consider the best way to obtain the greatest yield.
Our whole life is a time of sowing – not by chance but according to God’s wise plan, according to the order of life set by Him. At the same time, it is always harvest time, although the last great harvest day is yet to come, of which Paul writes: “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
Sowing and reaping will always correspond to each other. There can be no error at all in this matter. Whoever sows carrot seeds in his garden in the spring will certainly not expect a spinach harvest in the fall.
Should this not also be true in our personal lives regarding sowing and harvesting? Don’t we also have to consider this when sowing our words, deeds, and behaviors in our daily lives? Paul is certainly correct when he warns against dangerous error, thinking not of unbelieving people but of believers. He warns: “Do not be deceived; God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7). Nevertheless, whoever lives frivolously as a believer and does not think about the constant sowing of his life despises God. He will have to painfully experience the consequence of the divine order of sowing and reaping.
The Eternal Day of Harvest has not yet Arrived
But is it true in every case that the harvest corresponds to the seed? Certainly, we could give many examples of how the seed of the spirit of strife finally brought the harvest of a lasting discord, how selfishness caused love to die, how evil gossip destroyed the once blessed community.
But is there not also exactly the opposite experience? Was it not completely different with Jesus Christ? How many good seeds of love, mercy, and selfless devotion did He sow? At the end of His earthly life of this good sowing, the cross was the harvest! The writer of the letter to the Hebrews makes an important statement regarding this very point: “[He] endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus knew that the great, glorious day of harvest was still ahead of Him and would certainly come – despite the cross, indeed precisely because of this sowing of His cross. Since He was willing to give His life, even as a grain of wheat unto death, He was able to bear so much fruit.
The Yield Depends on the Soil
Crucial for a good harvest, however, is not only the seed we sow but also the field into which it is seeded. Paul stops at this thought with particularly serious emphasis in his letter to the Christians in Galatia. “Do you sow to the flesh or to the Spirit?” is what he asked (Galatians 6:8). Two options are open to us at every moment of our lives, between which we must decide.
He who sows always has a right to think about the harvest. It is simply a dictate of prudence that he does so. That is why Paul gives thought to the one who sows mindlessly to the flesh, whose harvest will inevitably mean “ruin.” He certainly does not mean only eternal perdition here, but the life of faith that is already perishing, falling into decay. The signs of this were already visible in the Galatian churches.
Wouldn’t it be advisable to consider and examine such contexts in us today as well? Couldn’t this be a piece of “sowing to the Spirit,” Who wishes to convict, restore, and revive? Whoever sows in the Spirit will experience God’s power in his life. These seeds become effective in healing and correction, in illuminating and the power to witness where we are placed.
Let us also be thankful for the assistance of the Holy Spirit who guides and leads us to good, rich sowing according to the example of our Lord Jesus. Here and there, this may also include “sowing with tears,” but God’s promise speaks of “reaping with joy.”