Autumn is a time when leaves change and crisp air moves in for those of us in North America. School is in full swing and Thanksgiving holidays are planned. Living in Canada as an American, I get to celebrate one in October and another in November.
Harvest and Thanksgiving fit together easily, and a message of personal or congregational harvest follows the theme. “Your harvest is coming.” “God has promised us a harvest, and we’ll be blessed as we receive it.”
According to Scripture, there is one important qualifier to the personal harvest headed our way. If you believe God’s harvest for you is about land in your life, you should buckle your seat belt and remind yourself of this truth. You might be in for more than you’re prepared for.
To be sure, we really do have a personal harvest waiting for us. It’s more than a good sentiment during Thanksgiving. The question we have to ask is this: What kind of harvest will we receive?
You only get one kind of harvest
The type of harvest headed your will dictate how you prepare and respond to it. When God promises your harvest is coming and you are ready for it, you recognize His hand and accept it with thanks.
However, if you aren’t prepared for the harvest, you will be disappointed or confused. You will be less like to receive it and find it more difficult to recognize God’s presence and activity in it.
The extremely important truth about harvest we must remember is this: You reap what you sow. You harvest what you have planted. If you have heard the message that your harvest is about to arrive, you should be asking yourself, “What have I planted?”
We all hope for a harvest full of goodness, blessing, prosperity, and grace. Maybe you would use different words than these or add others to the list. The point is, we want to receive a good and positive harvest.
But you can only harvest what you have planted. In another place, we are told how only a good tree can bear good fruit, and a bad tree will only produce bad fruit. Knowing what you have planted is key to preparing yourself for the harvest headed your way.
Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. (Galatians 6:7, NLT)
If you have planted goodness, grace, peace, and generosity, you will receive a harvest of goodness, grace, rest, and generosity from God. If your field is full of the seeds of strife, envy, selfishness, and pride, you should prepare for a very different harvest.
How to change your harvest
So, what if you have one of those difficult harvests on the horizon? After honest reflection and see in your actions as bad seed which will result in bad fruit, what do you do?
After all, God has said your harvest is coming. You don’t know how close it is, but it’s getting closer. You can’t change the law of sowing and reaping. Is there any chance for you?
The simple answer is, YES! There is always hope for you. God is gracious and merciful, and He wants work on our behalf. The caveat is that we have to clear our harvest fields of the bad fruit and begin to plant good seed for a new, good harvest.
If you’ve looked over your fields and found rows of rotten and destructive seed, call on Jesus for forgiveness. Regardless of the severity and regularity of your bad seed, Jesus will forgive those who repent with godly sorrow.
Let me be honest, though, and tell you that repentance does not guarantee a reprieve from consequences. Some trains are put in motion and cannot be stopped. But you will now have God’s presence and grace to move through it.
Repentance removes your destructive harvest, but that is only the first step to a new harvest you can look forward to. The next step is to prepare your field for new seed. It is a time for renewing the health of the soil itself so that what you plant will thrive.
When sinners were touched by Jesus and their lives were changed, He often told them, “God and sin no more.” The old harvest was removed, but to prepare for a new harvest, they had to change their path.
Which leads to the next step, which is planting good seed. Remember, you can only harvest what you plant, so plant good seed to receive a good harvest.
Keep in mind, God is looking for righteous seed, not what the world around us might consider to be “good”. It is built on the Word of God and the foundation of Jesus Christ. Scripture guarantees such fruit will pass God’s quality test.
The final step, other than the waiting, is being careful to feed and water the seed and the resulting plant as it grows. Jesus told a parable illustrating how God desires fruit from our lives. A tree that takes up space and resources without producing is destined to be removed and replaced.
But if you hear the Word of God and allow your life to be filled with godly seed instead of the seeds of selfishness and pride, not only will you receive an incredible harvest worth celebrating, but you will receive more than you ever dreamed was possible.
“The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” (Matthew 13:23, NLT)