Celebrate the Harvest

My wife loves to gather produce. She loves to pick up potatoes especially sweet potatoes and ooh and ah over how big they are. She finds great joy in looking at a bushel of green beans or beautiful apples. She delights in a big yellow tomato.

In agriculture the main thing is the harvest. It always has been. It always will be. Everything we do is for the harvest. Without the harvest we go broke. Ultimately without the harvest we die of starvation. The harvest is a really big deal.

And when the harvest is abundant and safely gathered in, we are glad. We celebrate. We rejoice. We give thanks to God who blessed our labor, who caused our crops, flocks and herds to produce and increase. God gave us strength to work and land to work on. He sent sunshine and rain at the right time and in the right amount. We recognize that He is the One who protected us from our enemies and provided peace and stability without which agriculture is impossible.

Life depends on the harvest. The harvest depends on God. We depend on God. We cannot survive without His help.

One of the major feasts of Israel in the Old Testament was the celebration every year at the conclusion of the harvest. The Feast of Tabernacles or Booths (Leviticus 23:39-44) lasted for seven days and it was an annual event. It was a reminder to the people that God is the one who gives the harvest and that we are to celebrate and rejoice and give thanks and praise to Him.

Life is not just about hard work, long days and constant busyness. Life is meant to be enjoyed and celebrated. It is OK to be happy. It is good to be glad. God wants us to take time to have a good time with each other in His presence. He commanded it. He expects us to do it. He knows we need it. And true joy and gladness are always found in the company of thankfulness, gratitude, humility, love and faith.

The Bible speaks of the cycle of planting and harvesting, sowing and reaping in many passages and in those passages God makes precious promises and assurances to His people. Psalm 126:5-6 is one of those promises:

Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who goes to and fro weeping, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

There are several life lessons found in agriculture:

1. If you want to eat, you have to work.

2. We are not in control. We are not God.

3. God is in control. He is God.

4. We are totally dependent on God. We need Him.

5. God is good. He is faithful. He provides for His people. He loves us.

6. God blesses faith and obedience and He punishes sin.

7. If I do my part, God will always do his part.

8. You reap what you sow.

9. You reap after you sow.

10. You reap in proportion to how much you sow.

11. Be thankful and rejoice and give God the praise for the harvest.

12. You demonstrate your faith and gratitude by giving a portion of the harvest back to God.

13. Just as there is an agricultural and material harvest, there is also a Spiritual one.

The Bible often uses agricultural metaphors to teach spiritual laws of sowing and reaping. The spiritual realities are just as true and dependable as the agricultural and material truths. The apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 6:7-10

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that he shall also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due time we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good to all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Paul also wrote in 2 Corinthians 9:6

He who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

Jesus told a parable about an unfruitful fig tree in Luke 13:6-9. He was not trying to teach us how to grow figs. He is warning us about the danger of not being useful and pleasing to God who has the right to expect a harvest from us.

A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then he said to the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I came seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering Him said Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.

Jesus talked about workers to gather in a spiritual harvest in Matthew 9:36-38.

And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the Kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted and were scattered abroad as sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, The harvest truly is plentiful but the labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that He will send forth labourers into His harvest.

Just like in agriculture the harvest is the main thing in life. The most important things are not the physical and material but the spiritual and eternal. We devote much time, energy, effort and attention to producing a harvest in agriculture or to making a profit in business and that is necessary and good. It is God's plan for us. And we celebrate and rejoice when at the end of the year we gather in the harvest and know that our work was not in vain. But how much more valuable, how much more important the spiritual harvest. God created us to bear fruit for Him. Jesus died and rose again to change us, save us, transform us and make us a new creation. What a joy and privilege it is to see His purposes realized and fulfilled in our lives and to know that He finds joy in us, and we find our joy in Him and His people. What a blessing to be able to participate in His harvest as we work with Him in spreading the gospel of the life, death, resurrection and coming again of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus says in Luke 15:10

There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

Knowles Shaw 1834-1878 wrote this great hymn about the harvest, Bringing in the Sheaves.

Sowing in the morning, sowing seeds of kindness, sowing in the noontide and the dewy eve; Waiting for the harvest, and the time of reaping, We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

Bringing in the sheaves, Bringing in the sheaves, We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves; Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves, We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

Sowing in the sunshine, sowing in the shadows, Fearing neither clouds nor winter's chilling breeze; By and by the harvest, and the labor ended, We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

Going forth with weeping, sowing for the Master, Though the loss sustained our spirit often grieves; When our weeping's over, He will bid us welcome, We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

Devotions by Year

  • Even Bulls Can Learn To Get Along
  • Changed Minds
  • Today is the Day
  • Sometimes We See What's Not There
  • Why Do You Farm?
  • Misplaced Aggression
  • Feasting On Filler
  • 'Get Some Rest': Not As Easy As It Sounds
  • Lessons From Freddy
  • Just Tired and Reflecting
  • Safe Pasture
  • Sin: Just Like Fall Army Worms
  • Blood Cleanses
  • Just Cute Little Harmless Pups
  • Life: A Series of Pipping
  • Just Because He Loves Us!
  • No Excuses!
  • Oh! Now You Tell Me!
  • Live Like You Were Dying
  • But You Didn't Tell Me!
  • Time to Choose
  • A Gift for the Man Who Has Everything and Realizes That He Really Has Nothing
  • Celebrate the Harvest
  • Falling Stars
  • Easier To Lead Than To Drive
  • Weeds, Weeds, Weeds!
  • Grace Is Like Grits
  • We Can’t Do It ‘Ourselves’!
  • I Wouldn’t Make a Good Cowboy
  • What Are We Thinking?
  • Your Walk Talks
  • Activity is No Substitute for Reproduction
  • Who Would Have Ever Thought It?
  • Thankful for Boundaries
  • Cover It Up Or Fix The Problem?
  • What Will Your Legacy Be?
  • I Wish I Had Been There! I Wish I Had Not Forgotten!
  • If God Can Use a Dove....?
  • Hope In The Midst Of Hopelessness
  • I Don't Know You!
  • Like A Straddled Squirrel
  • Sounding the Alarm: This Is Not a Test!
  • Don’t Let The Urgent Keep You From The Most Important
  • We Never Know Who We Have In The Basket
  • Uh Oh--Jesus' Got Toothpaste On His Head!
  • A Moment of Silence is like Preg Checking a Bull
  • A Chicken's Right to Choose
  • Got to Leave Right Now! What Do I Take With Me?
  • He is Able—But if He Does Not!
  • Declarations of Independence: Properity or Destruction?
  • Blackie: One In A Hundred-In More Ways Than One
  • Who Is Holding On The Tightest?
  • That Must Have Been 20 Years Ago!
  • It's Almost Time
  • Keeping Me Awake At Night
  • Better Be Dressed
  • CHRISTMAS My Favorite Time of the Year
  • A Nation Without God is a Nation Without Hope
  • Bush Hogging During a Severe Drought?
  • When the Heart Dies—the Whole Body Dies With It
  • Depopulate and Eradicate (or) Expiate and Propitiate
  • If I Could Only Say One Thing and Had One Last Chance to Say It
  • Go Ahead and Jump Son—Daddy Will Catch You
  • The Final Dispersal
  • Chicken Piping—He Sees Them All
  • “Takes the Teeth Out”
  • Making It Harder Than It Is
  • Why Was He Born?
  • What to do when you don’t know what to do
  • A Dry And Thirsty Land Where No Water Is
  • If Only These People Will Change
  • Go Fishing—You Never Know What You Might Catch
  • Some Droughts are Preventable
  • Celebrating ‘True Freedom’
  • Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone
  • Victory Through Surrender
  • Responding Like a Sick Calf?
  • Our Life’s Investment: A Time for Reflection
  • Preg Checking: Open! Bred! I Ain’t Sure!!
  • Confidence To Face The New Year
  • Two Virgins and a Baby—The Irony and the Gift of Christmas
  • Precious Moments in the Calving Pasture
  • Working On a Building
  • What is the Foundation of Your Faith?
  • To Walk on Water—You Have to Step Out of the Boat
  • Only One Life to Live
  • The Uniqueness of a Mother’s Love
  • A Prayer That God Will Always Answer
  • Lessons from a Boar
  • When You Have Done All You Can Do to Stand: Stand Firm
  • Lowing in the Distance
  • Not My Dirty Feet!
  • Where did it go CFCI devotional
  • The Day ‘Tater’ Died
  • Life’s Lessons from the Chicken Yard
  • Christmas Choices
  • Experiencing God in the Calving Pasture
  • FAMILY: On and Off the Farm
  • Unity is More Than Important—It is Absolutely Essential
  • God, I’m not ______________. I AM!
  • The Rod and the Staff
  • The Good Shepherd Leads the Way
  • The Good Shepherd
  • Blessed to be a Blessing
  • Mama Should Have Named Me Martha
  • FENCES: On the Farm & In Our Lives
  • The Harvest Depends on the Heart
  • The Gospel & Our Response to God's Grace
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