It is God alone who determines the time and place of the harvest season. We are workers in the field, vessels and instruments of His purposes. In Him, we cannot grow weary or lose heart, because we know that He will bring all things to pass according to His perfect will.
And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. (Galatians 6:9)
The principles of multiplication and sowing and reaping have one common characteristic. They are seasonable, something we can readily accept when we see it manifest in the natural world. The difficulty comes in when we look for the ‘pattern’ in the spiritual. We know it’s there because the Bible tells us: To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Yet it seems that the spiritual harvest season seems to defy the ‘laws’ we are told to look for. It’s all too easy to get discouraged or disheartened when we look for the expected outcome and the results of our labour seem lacking. Sometimes, we can barely see the germination, let alone the harvest. We question ourselves and the certainty of our calling, and our doing good seems fruitless to the point that we wonder whether it’s really the will of God for us.
The spiritual harvest season and the natural.
A common mistake is that we measure the spiritual by what we see and understand in the natural. This, is doing things backwards. It’s absolutely true that there is a connection between the two realms. But the supernatural impacts the natural, not the other way round. The logical, ordered existence of the ‘real’ world is God’s system to enable us to understand, govern, steward, and manage the earth. For life on earth to be sustainable, we need to know that we plant, water, weed, and harvest according to a set pattern governed by a set time. Without this, we would lead a ‘hit and miss’ kind of life with no certainty or ability to plan or manage anything. The natural world needs a definite cycle and sequence in order to provide life. The spiritual principles are applied in a specific pattern to fulfil the natural purposes of God on earth.
In the spiritual realm, however, God is not limited by natural laws. The principles still apply, but everything exists supernaturally in eternity. It’s difficult for our logical cognitive understanding to fully grasp the concept of eternity, though, so we seek to comprehend it by the natural laws we know. Eternity is essentially every single moment that is, has been, or will be existing simultaneously in the knowledge and awareness of God. The practical outworking of this is that we could actually sow, grow, and reap in the same instant. A good example of this is how sometimes, we enter a work to find ourselves reaping before we have even sown. This is because others have gone before or because He has released a harvest in eternity before we even do the work. The spiritual seasons follow the principle but not the rigid rules of the natural seasons.
The harvest season is according to God’s purposes.
Understanding God’s purposes is often like looking into those ‘image within an image’ pictures. If we focus on a particular spot, an entirely different picture emerges. A lot of the time, we miss that altogether if it’s not pointed out to us. We see what we expect to see. But beneath the obvious, God is working constantly to bring His harvest season to fruition. We don’t always see what He sees – the real picture behind the obvious. As a farmer knows each crop is different with longer or shorter seasons of growth, so God knows the time required for His harvest to reach maturity. This is especially true because His harvest is mankind. Every person has a purpose in His plans, and a perfect time to enter that purpose. It can neither be rushed nor delayed. God knows what we sow and He knows when it is ripe to harvest.
In the kingdom, there is no such thing as ‘my’ harvest field. We are all workers in every field. We may be called to sow in one field and never see the harvest there. But we may see a harvest elsewhere that someone else has sown. This is because we’re one body, and each part has their own particular strengths that He has imparted. One may have the gift of sowing, another of nurturing, and others of reaping. But together, we see the harvest. We cannot ever separate our good works from those of others. They work together to bring about the harvest season according to His perfect purposes. The principle and the promise behind our work is that there will always be a harvest season. We will always reap according to what we sow – here and now or in a different field, God’s supernatural principles are always fulfilled.
Faithfulness and the harvest season.
Perhaps one of the most difficult things to do is to ‘let go and let God’ as the saying goes. Human beings are wired to run on results. We want to do the work and then sit back and measure our achievements. From an early age, we’re taught to set goals, make plans, and implement them in order to achieve the desired results. If these don’t materialise or are less than we expect, that’s failure. The problem with this is that it’s entirely self-focused. It’ a ‘me-myself-I’ approach that has our abilities and agendas at the centre. God becomes a means to an end, a ‘boost’ to help us to achieve what we expect rather than looking to His harvest season in His perfect time and place. It’s ‘unnatural’ for us to simply roll up our sleeves and ‘work blind’ in faithfulness to His principles and promises.
But faithfulness requires that we depend wholly on God. We set self aside and focus only on being a willing instrument, vessel, or tool in the harvest field. If today, we’re called to sow, we must do so in faith that the harvest season will come. When we’re called to reap where we haven’t sown, we must do so with joy and thanksgiving that we share in the work of the kingdom. Often, we may get disheartened because we don’t see the results of our labours, and we can miss seeing the harvest we glean through the labours of others. Or we may be disappointed in perceived size of the harvest. But God measures multiplication supernaturally. We have laboured long and hard and brought only one soul into the kingdom. But that person may go out to bring in hundreds or thousands. Our work is part of that spiritual harvest.
Growing weary before the harvest season.
We grow weary when we lose sight of God’s purposes. When we allow self to create expectations and determine the desired results, we take our eyes off Him. Our dilemma is always that our new creation life and our old self life are always at odds. Self doesn’t like to be left out of things, and especially not if there is the opportunity to applaud ourselves for a job well done. Self-satisfaction is a powerful driving force in the human psyche. But self grows weary because it operates entirely in the natural with its limited supply of resources. If we find ourselves growing weary in good works, it’s because we’ve slid from working in God to working in self. Working for the harvest season is spiritual work and is empowered supernaturally. God will never send us out without equipping us – not simply to work but to abound in the work.
It’s absolutely true that spiritual work is draining because it demands all of us, a total participation in service as yielded vessels. But we have within us the wellspring of life. We have the Spirit to constantly replace what we use. If we’re in Christ, we need never grow weary to the point of giving up. All that He is and has is available to us if we acknowledge our weakness and open ourselves to receive. Reaching the harvest season is a matter of reaching Jesus. We can never ignore the necessity to remain in intimate relationship with Him, allowing Him to lead and fill us as He requires. It is when we move in our own strength or rely on our own abilities that weariness takes hold and we begin to lose heart. Intimacy with God keeps us firmly in His perfect purposes which will be fulfilled.
Harvest season comes when we don’t lose heart.
Like all of us, I have moments when I feel a little disheartened because I seem to labour long and hard and not see results. These are the times I turn to Him for His gentle reminder that He is Lord of the Harvest. When I re-fix my eyes on Him, He graciously assures me that nothing we do or say is without purpose when it comes to His harvest season. Everything we do or say is used by our God to achieve His perfect will, even though we may not see it. The truth is that heaven rejoices when even a single person turns to Christ. God’s harvest is not measured by our standards but by the limitless measure of eternity. But we are all human, after all, so how do we keep from losing heart? How do we overcome that little voice that whispers failure and apparent fruitlessness?
Our God graciously works with each of us in different ways, always according to our needs. For me, it has been the great relief of realising that it’s not up to me. Whether I’m having a good day or a bad day is irrelevant. If my faith today is strong, it’s Him working in me. When I feel my faith isn’t sufficient, it’s when He has a greater opportunity to work because I am weak. In a world where so much store is set by achievement and measurable success, it’s incredibly liberating to simply work as I feel led and let God worry about how to order the results. Whether one person reads this blog or a thousand doesn’t matter. What’s important is that I’m obedient, so that even a single person who needs a particular word on a particular day receives what God has provided for them.
The harvest season will come.
This is the assurance of faith we can live and work by. God’s purposes will always come to fruition. His multiplication is supernatural and has the power to manifest as when He ordains. What we see in the natural is not what is happening in the supernatural. His harvest season will come in His perfect place and time because it is His will, and because His will is eternal. We are all called not to a natural work but a spiritual work. Our walk is by the spirit not by the flesh. It’s a daily surrender to His purposes and our particular call in that moment. Lord, what do you want me to do today, right here, right now? Working with God for His harvest season is looking to our eternal reward – well done, good and faithful servant. Those are the words we must long to hear.
Thank You, Lord, for the privilege of working with You for Your harvest season. Help us to focus on You as Lord of the Harvest rather than on what we hope and expect to achieve. Grant us the grace to let go of self and the habits of the world that bring despondency. Help us to be faithful wherever You place us, and to hold fast to the faith that Your purposes will always be fulfilled.