Lessons in the Garden: Watching the Lord of the Harvest

This year a sweet sister in Christ, who lives out in the countryside, invited me to join her with her gardening with a benefit of sharing in the harvest.  I took her up on that offer as I live in town and have only a small raised bed in which to grow vegetables.  Rather than expanding my own garden space, I thought it would be a good opportunity for us to enjoy each other’s company, and frankly it is always more fun to pull weeds when you have someone helping and chatting!  So she got busy planning.  We went plant shopping together, picked out all the plants, bought some seeds, and we were off.  Then our spring season got very busy.  She was able to get all of her garden planted, and I did the same at my house.  We both had children graduating and I had one moving states away that needed my assistance.

When we finally got back to the garden, it was knee high in weeds.  We literally had to hunt for the plants.  But we won that hard fought battle only to be hammered with the wettest June in recent history!  All this to say that our dreams of an abundant harvest and canning this fall are dead.

Drowned in the water-log of life.

God is providing food for our efforts, just not enough to set back for the winter let alone next year.

There will come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt, but after them there will arise seven years of famine, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt. The famine will consume the land, and the plenty will be unknown in the land by reason of the famine that will follow, for it will be very severe. (Genesis 41:29-31 ESV)

On one of my training walks, God reminded me of the story of Joseph interpreting the Pharaoh’s dreams of the coming famine.  God warned him that it was coming and provided a plan to set back food in storehouses for those lean years that were on their way.  Because of their obedience to God, the Egyptians had bread in the midst of a severe famine.

Living in an agricultural area of our country, the farmers and gardeners around here know all too well; we can plant, but it is God who grows the crops. 

We must accept what harvest we have, whether plenty or little, with great praise to God as it all comes through God’s hands of provision.  It is always a wise thing to set back some of the years of plenty to aid in the years of little.  Well maybe next year.  Another lesson in all of this is that when the harvest is plentiful, the work load increases!  The harvest doesn’t wait on our schedules, and neither do the weeds!

I’ve really enjoyed our time at the garden (regardless of the crop).  I love being outdoors and she is great company.  We have exercised our bodies in the process and worshiped God while we were at it!  There is just nothing like growing your own food. To put an explanation point on this story, God blessed her land with wild berries.  Yep, we reaped the bounty of sweetness that we neither planted nor tended!  God is good!

Thank you God for providing healthy food for my family!  Thank You Lord for the rain that sustains us.  And Thank You God for the reminder that You are the one who grows the crop for the harvest!

We can put our best plans into motion, our best efforts into the task, but if God isn’t in it, the harvest will be very sparse.  It is important to seek God, and to join Him where He is working and pruning.   He knows where the harvest will be and when it will be ready.  We need to be watchful and ready.  We must walk with our heavenly Father if we wish to reap blessings in the harvest.  Are we so focused on our “gardening work” that we miss out on the harvest?  Jesus taught His disciples that there was a harvest that has an eternal impact.  He told them to pray for more laborers and to start seeing what the true harvest was about:  saving souls by spreading the good news of the salvation offered to us by Jesus Christ.

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:37-38 ESV)

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 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. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” (John 4:34-38 ESV)

So I hope that you are not toiling as we did, knee deep in weeds, but have your eyes on the Lord of the harvest so that you will reap where you have not sown.  Let us feed as Jesus did on the will of our God to accomplish His great work.

Be encouraged.  Press on.

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