Terry R Baughman is Lead Pastor for LifeChurch in Gilbert, AZ. See his complete bio at trbaughman.com
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Patience in the Process
PREPARING FOR THE HARVEST
Terry R. Baughman
“He who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart”
So, we sow.
Then we water.
Now we wait.
Farming is not for the anxious or the impulsive individuals. It requires patience. Growth takes time. Maturity does not emerge overnight, nor does fruit develop in an instant.
That is not to imply that the farmer does nothing while awaiting the time for harvest. There is always something to do. Equipment often needs repair, servicing, and cleaning. Fences need mending and buildings require maintenance. There is a never ending to-do list of projects. The harvest, however, necessitates a hands off season of just waiting. Sometimes the rows can be plowed or weeds removed, but the plants that are growing toward harvest cannot be disturbed lest their health should be compromised and their fruitfulness be thwarted.
Growth is quite natural and will come at the rate it is designed to produce. Growing is a process and it is continual. Some varieties grow rapidly and develop their fruit within days, while others take years to reach maturity. We all enjoy the reaping and the benefits of harvest, but there’s a whole lot of waiting in-between times.
Harvest is not just the fruit of our labor and the produce of what we have sown. We can also reap a harvest where others have sown. Jesus announced to the disciples who were with Him in Samaria, “Lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!” Then, He continued to explain the process, “One sows and another reaps. … I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors” (John 4:35; 37–38). We are all part of the process. Whether sowing or reaping, watering or weeding, we are all participants in the harvest of eternity.
Matthew recorded the parable of the workers in the vineyard. The landowner went into the marketplace seeking workers early in the morning. He hired them and put them to work. Then, he returned for more workers by mid-morning. Obviously, there was a bumper crop and an abundant harvest that demanded more workers. Again, he returned at noon and in the afternoon. Each time he contracted more workers to bring in the harvest. Finally, in the last hour of daylight, he returned to the market and pled for more workers; even paying them a full day’s wage just to help get the harvest in before it was too late. (See Matthew 20:1–16.)
God has brought us into the eleventh hour ministry of the Kingdom of God. While many have labored long and hard throughout the day, and many workers have joined the force of believers, we know that this generation is vested with the greatest responsibility of all. We must arise to the challenge of the final reaping, the harvest of souls in the last hours of opportunity.
We must continue to sow more seed, water and tend the field God has given us. When the seed is in the ground and the watering is being accomplished, we will wait for the moment of fulfillment and the emergence of the harvest. Let us practice patience in the process. We must wait when it is time to wait, but eagerly launch into the harvest when the fruit is ready.
Recognize when the fields are ready for reaping. Now is the time and today is our day. We have waited with patience, now let us reap the everlasting harvest!
“Neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:7).