Preparing for the Time of Harvest

 

Mark 4

26 And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;

27 And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.

28 For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.

29 But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come. 

 

     During the ministry of Jesus, Israel was full of shepherds, fishermen, and farmers. These occupations required focus, hard work, and effort in order to successfully prosper everyday. For this reason, these men were considered craftsmen of their trade.

     While on the earth, Jesus taught through parables, or symbolic narratives used to convey a message or a moral lesson. The theme of the parable was dependent upon the hearers of the message. In this parable, Jesus compares the kingdom of God to a man casting seed into the ground. If there was one thing the Jewish people of this time understood, it was casting seeds into the ground. They understood the times when they could sow and reap the fruit of the harvest. They knew the appropriate seasons for each seed to be planted and how to properly cultivate the fields. There was yearly application of patience through one season followed by urgency for the approaching season. They had an understanding of the earthly law of sowing and reaping.

     In today’s society, most of us do not truly know the first thing about farming…(thank God for the Internet)! It is not the most popular craft and its success is based upon its location. Once again, it is something that requires focus, hard work, and effort on a daily basis. Results are not seen over night, and in this microwave-style generation where all things must be done as quickly as possible, farming is simply not valued. We have many pesticides, preservatives, and hormone-treated foods so that we can consume any food we want, at any time of the year, as quickly as possible. With this being the world we live in, we tend to apply this “fast and easy” mindset to all areas of our lives. We lack the patience to hunt, cook, read, travel, and more all because we have unknowingly conditioned our minds into this way of thinking. Consequently, we tend to incorrectly apply this very mindset to the kingdom of God.

     The Word says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness: and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). This scripture is quoted more frequently than applied. It lets us know that seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness needs to be the primary objective of the believers. All throughout the gospels Jesus explains the kingdom of God, but He does this through parables. Thankfully, we can seek and understand the will of the Lord by studying His Word.

     This parable explains that the kingdom of God is like a man casting seed into the ground. After he casts his seed, he sleeps and rises night and day, after night and day, after night and day. Over time, the seed he cast should spring and grow up; “should” being the key word. The man has no way of knowing what is happening underground. He cannot tell if the seed is growing. He is unable to see if the seed has sprouted roots or if it is germinating at all. One day, a blade breaks forth out of the ground and now the man knows that his seed has the potential to yield fruit. The blade comes forth, then the ear, and later on comes the full corn in the ear. When the fruit is completely brought forth, the man immediately puts forth the sickle to gather the harvest.

Corn

 

     It can be seen and understood through this parable that planting and harvesting is most certainly not “fast and easy;” therefore the kingdom of God is not “fast and easy.” The physical characteristics of a man planting and harvesting can be applied to the spiritual planting and harvesting of the kingdom of God. Thus, the kingdom of God requires focus, hard work, and daily effort. It may not be our physical occupation or source of income, but we must make it our spiritual duty in serving the Lord.

     Earlier in the fourth chapter of the gospel of Mark, Jesus taught on another parable of a sower. When the disciples inquired of the meaning of the parable, Jesus explained in the fourteenth verse, “The sower soweth the word.” Hence, when a man casts seed into the ground, we can understand that the man is casting the Word of God. This includes witnessing or evangelizing through preaching, teaching and more. As believers, we are given the great commission to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15). This is how we sow and plant seeds. Through our lifestyles, actions, and words, we plant seeds every day into the hearts and minds of those around us, whether deliberately or not. Similar to the parable, we cannot tell how or even if the seeds we cast are growing and developing at all. Then one day, a blade springs forth.

     This can be compared to a situation where a person is witnessing to a co-worker about the gospel of Jesus Christ. The person might talk about how his/her life changed by understanding that Jesus lived, was crucified for our sins, buried, and then rose again. The person might also explain how he/she experienced the plan of salvation by repenting, or turning away from a life of sin, being baptized in the name of Jesus, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues. The co-worker, during this explanation, might have nodded and said how nice that sounds, but the conversation never proceeds from there. Months later, that same co-worker approaches the person and expresses interest in knowing more about salvation. This could be seen as a blade springing forth. Seeds were cast out about the gospel and salvation plan, but it took time for any sign of fruit to show. 

     Unfortunately, we have no physical control over the ground that we cast seed into. It is imperative for the believers to be sensitive to the Spirit of God at all times wherever we may be. The psalmist wrote, “Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart” (Psalm 44:21). Only God knows the hearts of men. Only God knows exactly what seeds need to be planted at what times in whatever seasons. As the Spirit leads us to witness, we must then be patient. Any good thing takes time to grow and develop. This includes seeds, relationships, people, and so on. We must be careful not to apply the microwave-style of thinking to the kingdom of God because we will find ourselves greatly disappointed.

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     As we plant seeds, only time will tell whether or not any fruit will come forth. Once we see the blade come forth, we need to understand that the time of harvest is not yet. Now that there appears to be something breaking through, the seed must receive proper cultivating. For example, the co-worker was interested in learning more, therefore the person would need to supply that nourishment. A blade may start to grow out of the planted seed, but if left alone, it will die.  We must continue to feed and nourish as often as possible. This can be done through encouraging conversations, bible studies, and more. In time, more of the fruit will be seen. Later on, the co-worker might desire to visit the person’s church. Then, through the watering of the preaching, the co-worker starts believing and wants to repent, be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost. Did it happen overnight? No. Was it time-consuming? Yes. Was it worth it? Absolutely!

     The scripture says, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). It is most important for us to be watchful and sensitive to the spiritual times and seasons, just as much, if not more than the physical ones. Each day we go into the mission field, whether this is work, school, the neighborhood, the grocery store, or any place we could go. If we earnestly desire the kingdom of God to come forth in our cities, if we sincerely pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10), then it will take focus, hard work, and daily effort. We must patiently endure each season, while eagerly looking forward to the season that will follow. We must also remind ourselves who and what this is all about.

     Paul wrote to the church of Corinth, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:5-7). Every bit of planting and harvesting is for His kingdom, not ours. We can neither be discouraged nor become high-minded by the amount of people who receive or reject our seeds. Our job is to cast out the seeds as the Lord leads us and another will water, but God brings the increase. He alone knows the hearts of men, therefore we must trust His timing. 

     “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9). Let us go forth encouraged, knowing that the Word of God promises us that we shall reap. Remember, the key to reaping what we sow is not fainting as we wait. The time of harvest is closer than we think. Let us not miss out on the opportunity to be a part of it! Be encouraged and God bless!


4 Responses to “Preparing for the Time of Harvest”

  1. Melvin says:

    Great word and right from the throne room, Amen.

  2. kibet Dan says:

    Thanks its a blessing

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