35Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matthew 9:35-38 (NIV)
I love seeing combine harvesters at work I stop and watch… I find it such an idyllic sight! Despite living in the countryside I am often disappointed at not seeing that many fields in the process of being harvested. One day a field looks white for harvest, the next it is all cut and baled. How did I miss it… again? As always, farmers don’t hang around. All has to be gathered before the weather turns against them. For the last few years I have endeavoured to spend a day with a local farmer during harvest. Graciously he has welcomed me aboard his combine. I’m like a boy with a new toy!
But what is the season of harvest all about? Well, it’s a season of hope. Seeds planted the previous year, or earlier in the year, are bearing their fruit. It is a time to gather in the fruit of the labour spent preparing the land, planting the seed and caring for the first sights of tender shoots.
As Christians, we are to know that God IS the Gardener supreme, and He is looking for a spiritual harvest from us! That is what Jesus is talking about in our reading from Matthew. This type of harvest does not depend on a particular time for harvest. We are the fields, and our prayers and lives are the seed. So we can plant seeds of faith, eternal hope, love, joy and peace in and out of every season.
As we plant such seeds we can gather in the lost, bring back a wandering soul, for it doesn’t have to be a fixed harvest time, because God controls His spiritual harvest. So a harvest for Jesus is available anytime because to God it’s always harvest time.
God, as Gardener supreme, has placed us at the centre of the world He created. He has fed us, and equipped us with what we need to survive physically. Having provided for us physically, He looks to a different harvest from us. A fruitfulness of lives, in service to Him and others.
For us to live fruitful lives in service to Him we need to let the God of harvest, feed us, prune us, harvest us so that our lives bring glory to Him. You see, God doesn’t have to plant, water, and wait for a harvest. Yet, He chooses to be the Gardener supreme – with us as His fields and our prayers as seeds.
This is a picture of us co-labouring with God to bring Him glory – what an honour (1 Corinthians 3:9) to work with Him. As we co-labour with God He encourages and urges us, to plant our faith firmly in His Holy Living Word and in His supernatural power. As we do this He bottles up every tear of fear and disappointment (Psalm 56:8-11) to water the harvest of His glory.
This leads us to become His fruit, a fruit ripe with testimonies that feeds the faith of others to know that they, too, can and will overcome all the evil schemes of the enemy (Revelation 12:11) and fulfil God’s plans by reaping His harvest.
Here’s what we know about God: He is a finisher. When He begins the good work of planting you, He is faithful to bring you, His field, to a flourishing finish! Because God plants with the FULL expectation of a vibrant, glorious bloom.
Be encouraged today. Don’t give up before you see the fruit of your prayer labour. Right now, you may be sowing seeds of tears and prayers with no sign of a bloom in sight. Trust that the Gardener supreme sees your tears, that He hears your cry, and has every intention to bring your purposed bloom to fruition for His glory.
Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. (Psalm 126:5-6)
Based on a sermon first delivered on 13th September 2020