Growing up there were nine of us in a small house. There were six of us children, my parents and my grandfather. We lived on the edge of small town and my grandfather had us plant about half an acre of garden every spring. Half was potatoes and the rest a variety of vegetables ranging from corn to cucumbers. Harvesting cucumbers is an unpleasant task, particularly if like me you find even the smell of a fresh cucumber hard to take. However, the harvest was important as we stored carrots, potatoes, turnips and other things over the winter to sustain us and my mother froze or canned many things from the garden.
Just as we do naturally, so spiritually we should desire a bountiful harvest. In our walk with Jesus we will reap what we have sown so being wise in sowing is critical in the process leading to harvest.
So let me go back to growing up and how we arrived at a harvest. As a young boy I much preferred playing with friends or hanging out in the forest by myself rather than working in the garden. Yet there were choices to be made and my mother was good at making them for us! We engaged in a process – the preparing of the soil, the planting of the various seeds, then the weeding and watering that took place over the summer. If all of this was done well and the weather cooperated there was a bountiful harvest in the fall.
Obviously the primary factor in what we harvested depended on what was sown. I like raw rutabaga. If you have never heard of it the vegetable is like a small turnip with, in my opinion, better flavour. However, if we never planted any there wasn’t much point in looking forward to consuming some in the fall.
So now let us look more closely at what we see in scripture about spiritual sowing and reaping. For our purposes the main thing we learn is in Luke 8. Here Jesus placed before us the principle of sowing and reaping and said that what was sown in our hearts was the word, His word.
11 “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.” Luke 8:11 (NKJV)
When we look at the scriptural practice we are assured that when we sow to the spirit we will reap a spiritual harvest if we remain faithful. Paul put it this way.
7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Galatians 6:7-9 (NKJV)
Paul said we will reap what we sow and Jesus said that what we sow is His word. In being very practical we can look at what we are sowing into our lives regarding healing, revival, holiness or a variety of other spiritual areas. If we are called to evangelism, teaching, intercession or pastoral ministry we will reap in those areas as we sow into them in our lives. We can look at whether we are planting seeds that will produce a harvest of maturity and what we are sowing into our spirit and the lives of those we come in contact with.
One of the things my grandfather did was that coming out of harvest he would begin selecting and preparing seeds for the following spring. He selected the best seeds from the fall to be used in the spring for the next crop. As we reap a spiritual harvest we can look at how we can reinvest our seed through time in His word, in prayer, in sitting with Him and in loving Him.
We choose our harvest by selecting where and what we sow.