by Pam Bender
A Time to Sow and a Time to Reap
It’s October, which is a wonderful time for our family. We are in the agricultural business and its harvest season. It’s an incredible thing to consider reaping a harvest. Farmers work hard in the spring to prepare the soil for planting seeds, then plant the seeds. Throughout the growing season, they fertilize and water their fields to give the seeds the nourishment they need. In the fall they reap the rewards of their labor. In our modern times, the sowing and reaping are done with the use of tractors and farming implements, but the formula (or pattern) remains the same. You plant seeds, tend the fields, and reap more than you sow.
Have you ever enjoyed watching wheat sway in the breeze? Or heard corn growing in the heat of summer? How about tasting bread made from that wheat or enjoying sweet corn dripping with butter? Yes, its wonderful! We enjoy the “fruits” of our labor (or someone else’s). But what if they didn’t reap the harvest after its been planted? Or how about not planting at all? The consequences would be dire.
Now let’s consider this spiritually. What if we never plant the seeds of the gospel in the first place? What if the harvest is ripe but we don’t spend the time harvesting? Why does it matter? It should matter to us because it matters to the Lord. Sin entered the world through the rebellion of Adam and we needed a Savior to redeem us from eternal separation from God. We know that Jesus is that Savior. But what if someone had not “planted” the seeds of the gospel in our lives? Would we be a fruitless and barren land? What if someone hadn’t asked us if we had ever asked Jesus to be our Lord and Savior and led us to the Lord in prayer…reaping the “harvest” of our personal salvation? Those consequences would be even more dire.
There are so many scriptures in the Bible that reference reaping and sowing. In Luke 10:2, Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” In Ecclesiastes 3, King Solomon wrote: “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted…” And in Proverbs 20:4, a sobering word says, “Sluggards do not plow in season; so at harvest time they look but find nothing.”
Jesus said in Mark 16:15, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” This is something the Lord expects from each of his followers. We all have a part in sowing and reaping. When I was a child, I lived down the block from an older couple (Mr. and Mrs. Quick) who were about the age of my grandparents. They had a big, beautiful weeping willow tree in their front yard that we loved to play under. I don’t really remember a lot about them, but there are two very important things I do remember. They were loving and kind. And occasionally, they would give us a Christian tract. In the whole realm of things, this may seem like an insignificant gesture, but I’m in my mid 50’s and still remember this. Their small Christian tracts made a significant impact in my life.
Did I immediately give my life to Jesus after reading the tract? I wish I could say yes, but sadly, I didn’t receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior until I was 29 years old. Did Mr. and Mrs. Quick ever learn of my salvation decision? I doubt it. We moved away from that neighborhood when I was 13 years old and lost contact with them. They sowed but didn’t see the fruits of their labor. However, the Lord of the harvest made sure to water the field of my heart so that their labor wasn’t in vain.
I encourage you to build relationships with your neighbors and share the love of the Lord with them. Pray for a “field” to sow, share a Christian tract with them, give them a note of love from Jesus or an invite to church. You may not see a harvest right away, or in your lifetime, but I can attest that it can be a part of someone’s journey to salvation through Jesus. I can’t wait to see Mr. and Mrs. Quick one day in heaven and share my testimony with them! And, I can’t wait to see the impact my life has been for the gospel in someone else’s life. How about you?