A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Tuesday, October 5, 2021
Soy bean harvest on Espenshade farm. We see this expansive farm scene when we turn on to Donegal Springs Road from Kraybill Church Road.
Click on photo to enlarge
"Sowing and Reaping"
Message summary: A word of encouragement to those who have been long in waiting for the good harvest.
Listen to this message on your audio player.
"Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers" (Galatians 6:7-10).
Throughout our rural area we have various seed times (sowing) and various harvest times (reaping). Actually this is true all over the world, but is especially observable when you live out in the country. Local farmers in our neighborhood are currently harvesting the soybeans. Last spring they sowed (planted) the beans and they are now reaping the harvest.
The farmer understands the fundamental law of sowing and reaping. In this case there is a generally predictable period between the sowing and reaping. It would be very anxiety-inducing for a farmer if there was not a fairly predictable time for the harvest! We've already had the corn silage harvest and later this fall we will have the grain corn harvest.
Sowing and reaping is a spiritual principle as well and can be used in different applications. If one sows "to please their flesh" with a wild, reckless life of disobedience to God he or she will eventually reap the consequences of that way of life. Destruction, some experiencing more drama and devastation than others, will be reaped at a non specified time. Sometimes the lag between sowing and reaping is delayed, perhaps not even in this life in some cases. But ultimately God cannot be mocked.
On the other hand when one sows in obedience to God to "please the Spirit" he or she has a promise of reaping the ultimate harvest, eternal life. But again this is future and due to the lag between sowing and reaping at times we may wonder is it really worth it? We can become discouraged, weary, perplexed. When we see the world around us in a mad rush to destruction we wonder what the outcome will be.
Sometimes in the short term it seems the other way around. We see the unrighteous prosper and do well in life while a devoted Christian suffers and just can't seem to catch a break. We especially consider areas where there is great suffering on the short term such as Afghanistan and Nigeria and many other places of persecution, devastation, and internal strife.
Thus Paul continues with a word for all, but especially those in a wait period, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up". The hard part for us is we will reap a harvest "at the proper time" ("in due season" in some versions). That will be in God's time, not ours!
Remember when Job's wife had decided enough is enough regarding Job's afflictions and their combined monumental losses. Her counsel to Job: "Curse God and die" (2:9). In other words be done with it!! Job's wife wanted him to wave the white flag of surrender on the battlefield of affliction, due to the infection not of his soul but hers. Be careful of those you keep company with when undergoing affliction, sorrow, and disappointment.
So let us be purposeful in providing encouragement, giving wise counsel and lending support to those who have been long in waiting for the harvest. Look for opportunities to reach out to our brothers and sisters in the faith as Paul writes, "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers".
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we know from Scripture that if we sow to the wind we reap the whirlwind, but if we sow to please the Spirit we reap a harvest of fruitful bounty; fruit that has eternal value such as love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. We see this fruit displayed in the lives of those who did not give up on the future harvest, those who did not choose to curse You and die. Instead they have stayed the course and declared not only with their words but by their lives, You alone are my Rock and my salvation; You are my Fortress, I will not be shaken (Psalm 62:6). Amen.
Additional thought I want to develop in a future message: I have also been considering the motivational stimulus the prospect of a harvest brings when one sows. The motivation to sow would be greatly diminished if there wasn't a prospect of a harvest and this is true in our own lives as well. We seek to live our lives responsibly (sowing) with a reasonable prospect that our responsibility will be rewarded. When outside forces (I am thinking government policies) diminish the fruits (harvest) of one's labor and responsibility this tends to disincentivize the sowing. And we see a lot of that going on.
Brooksyne's Note: I want to dedicate today's prayer to Andrea, a dear friend who continues to be a vital part of the congregation in Taunton, MA where we pastored from mid 1993-early 2001. At 18 months of age Andrea was in an automobile accident and has been a paraplegic ever since. She has suffered more surgeries than I can count over the years and has gone through many dangers, toils and snares, but always with a cheerful spirit and an overcoming attitude. As a little girl Ester always looked forward to Andrea letting her climb on her lap so that she could take her for a ride in her wheelchair.
Once again, Andrea is going through a health crisis. Many people have been praying and we were so delighted to read that she was moved out of ICU and her ventilator was removed. She was able to come home for the weekend (with supplies and medical personnel) to give a little time before she undergoes her next operation. Here is her most recent update for those who would like to uphold her in prayer:
"Thank you all for your love and prayers. You all hold a special place in my heart. I'm home only for a short time as I need more healing before having more surgery😔 This is only a bump in my "walk" God is not done with me yet. Still got lots to do.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Sow Mercy " Video Gaither Vocal Band
"Harvest" Video Freedom City Worship In searching for songs on the harvest I came across this thoughtful song from a church in Springfield MO, where we met while in college in the seventies. I had never heard of this church though so looked it up and the pastor, John Alarid and his wife Hannah have quite a testimony and are now reaching out in a special way to the broken.
Powerful story by John Alarid: Set free from heroin addiction and prison Video
"Sowing and Reaping" Video sermon Billy Graham Classic
A reader wrote concerning yesterday's message on "My Rescue Story" and our story about Susanna, who was baby-lifted out of Saigon: Today's message (Oct 4) touched a personal nerve. Over 60 years ago my son and my daughter were "baby-lifted" out of Korea. They brought joy to our hearts and today they are living good lives as naturalized Americans. Incidentally, the adoption process was handled by the Pearl Buck Foundation in Dublin, PA.
Interestingly, before Stephen sent out our message yesterday we prayed for "Women Connecting", a Women's Ministry that our dear friend, Dottie Schmidt, founded at Calvary Homes here in Lancaster. Dottie had invited Julie Henning to speak to the women yesterday morning. Julie was born in Korea in 1953 and was adopted by Nobel Prize Winner Pearl S. Buck. I am reading the story of her life published within the past two years. Her rescue story will pull at your heart strings.
Our neighbor Leon harvesting soybeans here on Kraybill Church Road.
The combination of taking the photo into the sun and all the field dust account for this hazy photo.
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