I grew up in the state of North Dakota (to many “the Frozen Frontier”). It was actually a great place to grow up because, though I lived in a city, everywhere I went had a kind of rural vibe. Neighbors always seemed ready and willing to help one another, no one would ever go hungry, and everyone seemed to enjoy nature.
One of my favorite times of year was the harvest. Most of North Dakota is farmland, so the harvest is a time of excitement, even for the city folk. The smells were different, the anticipation was heightened, and the sunsets were amazing.
The sunsets were my favorite part of harvest. When the chaff dust would hang in the air after a long day of harvesting, the vibrance of the reds and yellows and oranges would take your breath away.
During the harvest, many of the schools would take a break because the kids were needed to bring the crops in. The work was hard and the money wasn’t that great, but the farmers always seemed to have little shortage of willing teenage workers. There is something about working in the soil that brings peace to our most basic instincts.
Jesus was fond of speaking of the harvest also. Just like North Dakota, Israel was mostly rural, and everyone would have known the connections Jesus was trying to make in his stories. When Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into His harvest” (Luke 10:2), they would have known that he was drawing a comparison between the harvesting of crops and the harvesting of souls.
Here Jesus is saying that souls are ready to be gathered but few are ready or willing to be the hands, feet and mouthpieces of God so that others might receive the God News and be harvested. Just as farmers rely on labor to bring in their crops, the Holy Spirit uses laborers to help Him win souls.
Instead, many wait for a more opportune time that may never come. We make excuses to help in the harvest thinking we have plenty of time all-the-while forgetting the urgency of the task. John 4:35 shows us this attitude is nothing new, “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.”
Unlike crops that come from the soil of the earth, the crops that God produces from the soil of heaven are always ready for harvest. Everyday kernels of faith are producing a bounty that need to be brought into the storehouses. Every moment is a new opportunity to bring to maturity the crops the Holy Spirit has been nurturing.
Our role in the harvest is simply to do the will of God by sharing His message and serving His people. Galatians 8:22 reminds us of this saying, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Our call is to plant the seeds and follow up by serving to maturity the souls with whom the Holy Spirit is working.
In the end, when our time on earth has ended, the great harvest will commence and the believers who are gathered will enjoy a new Heaven and a new earth. From Revelation 14:15, “And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, “Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.” So, he who sat on the cloud swung his sickle across the earth, and the earth was reaped” (Revelation 14:15-16).
For those who deny God the message goes on, “Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has authority over the fire, and he called with a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, “Put in your sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe.” So, the angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, as high as a horse’s bridle, for 1,600 stadia” (Revelation 14:17-20).
We work the harvest for God because we don’t want anyone to witness the winepress of the wrath of God. As workers in God’s fields, our goal should be to bring in as much of the crop as we can. So, we continue to plant the seeds for the Holy Spirit to bring to maturity. There is no time to waste. The fields are white for harvest. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for counting us worthy of harvest and help us as we labor in your fields so that the harvest is plentiful. Amen.