Here we are again at harvest time again. The fields around us are ripe, and tractors and combines, and grain wagons are ready to be put to use.
Harvest season is the culmination of months of work– planting, preparation, decisions, working around weather issues, and constant changes. Yet it is the time of hope and celebrating. It is also a time for us to pray for the safety of those who are working extra hours and often in dangerous conditions.
In 2 Timothy, Paul refers to the faithful farmer. “The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.” (2 Timothy 2.6) In the context of the passage, Paul is encouraging believers to be “strong and faithful” to Jesus. He encourages us to entrust our faith and hope in reliable men (& women) who can teach others. He compares our spiritual life to the faithful soldier who serves the commanding officer. As an athlete competes for the gold medal by training and competing according to the rules, so we must live our lives in faithfulness, and dedication to Jesus. We must live according to His spiritual rules of love, and grace, and walking by faith in Him.
As part of this encouragement towards faithful service to Christ, Paul suggests that there is a reward…a harvest. There are rewards and blessings that result from the believer’s walk with the Lord. The farmer’s reward is “a share of the crops.” There will be food on his table, and the resources to pay others who have helped, and who are owed their share of the crops too.
Likewise, we are challenged to be faithful to Christ. There may be some who think that the farmer only works in the summertime, or that the pastor only works on Sunday… If this is the case they will not be in business very long!
Likewise, if our only time of serving Jesus in on Sunday morning, then we may quickly discover that our spiritual harvest is pretty limited. Yes, we were saved by God’s grace, even while we were sinners, when we trusted in Jesus. Our salvation is not something we earn by hard work, or by great things we do. Yet, we are redeemed for a life of purpose, and calling, and blessings. There are times of harvest, and of blessing along the way in the spiritual life. But, they often come as a result of our faithful service.
Parents who bring their children to church, and who teach them about Jesus day by day, are often blessed to see them learning to know Him, and discover His amazing love and grace too. Those who pray faithfully, and consistently often reap a harvest of answers, and of assurances that God hears, and does wondrous things. Those who share their faith in Jesus, often see friends and loved ones become believers in Jesus. Those who serve their church with their time, and their treasures, often enjoy a spiritual home. And their spiritual home is an added strength when things are tough, or when there are weddings, and holidays.
So, as Paul encouraged Timothy, I want to pass along the message. “You then, my son (my daughter), be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim. 2.1) Praise the Lord! There are blessings, and harvests to come.
Blessings to you, Pastor Mark