5 Those who walk the fields to sow,
casting their seed in tears,
will one day tread those same long rows,
amazed by what’s appeared.
6 Those who weep as they walk and plant with sighs
will return singing with joy,
when they bring home the harvest.
Psalm 126:5-6 ~The Voice
This one’s for the sowers. The same ones who will yet bring home the harvest.
Those who at one time in anticipation of great things for God, made like a cow pie and hit the trail. Then stepped in it, had to go back and clean it up, scrape their boots and finally return to the furrows with their shoulder-slung bag of seed, re-seeded.
Sowing is messy.
It is also repetitive. The act of sowing is not a one-time event with a once-filled pouch. Eventually you’ll reach the bottom of the bag. Replenishing the seed is key. Otherwise it’s tempting to toss aside an empty bag and go off in search of other, more exciting fields. (Hint: ‘the grass is always greener…’)
God’s sowers – the ones who will yet bring home the harvest – are not commissioned as quitters. Instead – they learn by doing, sometimes failing, having to repair breaches and broken equipment, unlearning and re-learning a better way to spread the seed, and getting back into stride on the path they’ve been called to walk.
For sowers of the word and life of Jesus, the goal of harvest is part and parcel of spiritual development.
Potential fields are not only ‘out there’ waiting for sowers to sow seed, but also ‘in here’ – the field of one’s heart that, if good fertile soil, will receive the seed and take root, grow and produce a healthy crop. Thirty, sixty, or one hundred-fold. This, my friends, is the very place the replenishing of seed to sow occurs too.
Many eager wannabe sowers have strode off into that initially beautiful sunset slinging seed right and left, without stopping to consider there are weeks, months and sometimes years ahead before the harvest arrives.
It doesn’t take terribly long before walking the fields to sow the seed in their bag loses its eager luster. The precious seed falls on all types of soil. Matthew 13 describes more ill-receiving soils than good, producing soil.
Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed.
As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.
Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—
a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear.”
Matthew 13:3-9 (NIV84)
“Agricultural development (aka farming) is easy!” Said no farmer ever. The same can be said of spiritual development – ours or anyone else’s in whom we sow. Christ never promised it would be easy. Or quick. Or painless. Or without a lot of shed tears, wondering when the end result will show itself and if it will be worth it.
Along the line dejection and weariness can set in. Tears that fall when in that state of mind and emotion are often drawn from what seems to be cisterns of waste water and a sense of being a square bucket in a round rain barrel. At such times, being a sower often sounds more like being a sigher.
Disappointment, discouragement and disillusionment threaten to be the only crop growing from all that tearful moisture. Adverse, little or no signs belie anything is sprouting where seed’s been sown.
But. The One through whom the harvest comes knows precisely when the crop will reach its day of maturity.
One’s own and crops of multiplied others ready for gathering. What joy it will be to bring home the harvest!
Like the Lord, I cannot promise you dear sower that spreading the precious seed He has given you will be sown without tears and planted without sighs. He knows, I know, you know the task is not as easy as it looks. Sometimes it is downright thankless.
But that’s not why we sow, get re-seeded, and continue to sow some more. We do it so we may return Home over the fields we once worked in tears and tiredness, our mouths filled with song and our arms with sheaves.
We do it for the joy set before us. We do it to bring home the harvest. ▪
Photo Credit: Sandis Helvigs