“The Harvest is plentiful…”
“But the workers are few…” (This is Tom, my brother in law and brother in Christ.)
I have been in Spokane, WA at my in-laws house for the past couple days. Friday morning, the family and I got up and went out to the garden to plant corn, pick weeds and harvest potatoes.
At first I wasn’t terribly excited, but as time went on, I really started to enjoy it. There is just something about taking out of the ground food that you are going to eat, and planting food knowing that (some of) it will grow. It was very satisfying in a way that no other activity is. After a time, a number of parables came to mind: the parable of the harvest (Matthew 9) and the parables of the wheat and tears (Matthew 13) and an overwhelming symbolism came to mind for me in terms of our own spiritual life and in our evangelistic efforts.
- Birth (Justification). We planted corn seeds in the back of the yard. Poking holes, planting seeds and covering with dirt. God implants us with the holy spirit. Other people “plant the seed” of faith and “God makes it grow”. Just like our evangelistic efforts, some of the seeds will sprout, some will not. It is just our job to plant them (evangelize). The conviction, repentance, belief and spirtual growth of the individual are up to God. We must not be discouraged no matter how fruitful or fruitless our efforts seem to be. We just need to keep planting, doing what the Lord has called us to do.
- Life in the spirit (Sanctification). Just like a garden has weeds, we have weeds of sin in our lives. Just like weeding, removing sin from our lives is a CONSTANT battle, and just when you look at one side of the garden and say to yourself “Excellent! No weeds!”, you turn around to the neglected part of your garden/life and go “Oh man…more weeds…”. Thankfully, we don’t do this alone. Our brothers and sisters in Christ can kindly come along and help us see the weeds in our lives that we might miss and help us pluck them out (and we should humbly, and lovingly, help them do the same in theirs).
- Resurrection (Glorification). Then comes the best part of all: After all the planting, weeding, hard work and heart ache, our Lord harvests us from his garden and takes us into his home. To feast, dine, and be in each others presence for an eternal dinner party without sin, wonderful food and drink, and perfect (literally) company.
It felt good to get into the harvest spirit, even if I ended the time with a scrape or two and a little dirty.
I pray that both in our personal walk with God, and in our evangelistic efforts, that we will remember the parables of Christ and continue to walk in faith and obedience.