“A sluggard does not plow in season; so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing.”
Every day I’m looking for a hint of green. A glimmer of a plant poking its head through the dirt. Although there is snow on the ground in April, I have already planted my seeds, preparing for my vegetable garden. Although I am still wearing my winter coat, I know that the warm air is coming sooner or later. Soon, it will be time to go into my little garden patch and start turning over the soil in preparation to plant the seedlings that are currently growing in my living room window.
I’m looking for signs of growth every day. I get excited when I see speck of green poking through the brown dirt, knowing that each now tiny plant will grow into a harvest of tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. I know that I have to start in April if I want to have tomatoes in August.
Just as we prepare for a natural harvest of fruits and vegetables, if we want to see a spiritual harvest in our lives, we need to plow in season. We can’t be weary in well doing or at harvest time, we will look up and find nothing. We have to prepare to plant. We have to cultivate the ground to make it ready for the seed. We need to break up the soil and turn it over. After the seed is planted and starts to grow we have to water, weed and fertilize. We have to prune and stake. Finally, we get to harvest the fruit of our labor.
Sometimes we get sluggish in our spiritual gardening. We don’t plant or hide the word of God in our heart that we might not sin against God. We don’t break up old habits and bad attitudes that make our hearts too hard to receive God’s word. We fail to weed out sin. We let bitterness grow and strangle our growth. We fail to fertilize and fortify ourselves with fasting and prayer or prune away everything that’s not like God.
If we want to see a harvest in our lives and in the lives of those around us, we have to plow in season. We have to do the work that is required now and practice the spiritual disciplines that will cause us to grow personally and that will empower us to touch the lives of others with the love and power of the gospel.
It’s hard work. It sometimes seems like a long wait. But in the end it’s worth it.
I see a little hint of green now, but I’m looking forward to biting into a ripe, red tomato at harvest time.
What type of harvest are you looking for in your spiritual life?
In what areas do you want to grow spiritually?
· Take a minute to write down your daily activities and how much time you spend on each. Then calculate how much of that time is spent praying, reading or studying God’s word or doing another activity that promotes spiritual growth.
· Commit to praying every day. It doesn’t have to be an hour. It could be a minute in the morning in the shower. But take time to talk to talk to God and then take time to hear what He is saying to you through His word—the Bible.
· Commit to reading the Bible every day—even if you just start by reading a verse a day. Proverbs is a good place to start if you don’t know where to begin. There are 31 Proverbs, one for every day of the month.
· Forgive the person who hurt you. Forgiving someone does not mean that you condone or forget the wrong they might have done to you. It does not even mean that you have reconciliation. But if you forgive, you free yourself. When you forgive, you don’t allow bitterness to take root in your heart and stunt your spiritual growth.
Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. Matthew 3:8
I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
A time to be born and a time to die,
A time to plant and a time to uproot. Ecclesiastes 3:1-2
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Ephesians 6:9
Thank you for giving me everything I need to grow in you. Let me delight in you and make me like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season.