Did you plant any gardens this year? Maybe some veggies or flowers? Perhaps you have a patch of herbs. Or maybe a favorite front step potted plant. Farmers across the world have their own kind of (very large) gardens. So do businesses with green houses, orchards, or public farms. I had a garden this year, and I poured time and effort into it. Gardeners have something in common. They look for harvest of the crop they labored over – from produce to flowers to cash crops. How is your yield this year?
What Is Harvest?
Harvest is part of God’s original design, part of creation and life on this planet. It comes in many forms. Normally for gardeners and farmers, it’s the fruit of the planting, that portion that promotes life, has value, is enjoyable, beautiful, and even profitable.
- College grads take their hard-earned harvest with them. The fruit of their training helps them embrace a career of interest and substance.
- Business, educational, and medical professionals enjoy fruit of their labors by investing each day in work that pertains to their focus.
- Parents raise and train children with hopes for a harvest in each precious life. They nurture the person their child is and will become.
- You! There’s a harvest of your heart. Why not pour into your inner person each day in ways that matter for eternity? God is pouring into you each day as you trust Him.
- You may be pouring into another person God has brought across your path.
So, how is your yield this year?
What Qualities Define Harvest?
Besides the joy and fulfillment of a harvest for your labors, there are additional benefits of investing in a planting. Some of the best yield comes from hours of careful planning, planting, weeding, watering, fertilizing, and pruning. All of that is a process of patience as you wait for harvest – both from the earth and in the human processes worth investing in.
There are benefits from participating in human planting endeavors. These plantings include things such as education, relationships, community health, research and development, discovery and investigation, and spiritual development. The qualities involved in planting enrich and deepen your life. They are definitely worth investing time, energy, passion, and resources into.
Harvest involves qualities of reflection, planning, discipline, and rejoicing. These qualities certainly refer to harvests of the earth. Yet, they also refer powerfully to harvests of heart and mind.
Let’s look at each quality. As you consider these concepts, stretch your thoughts to apply the ideas to your own heart and mind. Remember, you are a planting of God. Your life is worth time, energy, passion, and resources you have available to you.
How is your yield this year in your heart and mind?
Reflection is the first step of planting. It’s a pensive contemplation of your life seasons. It focuses on the big picture with definite goals in mind. Reflection is a critical component of planning, and planning is futile without reflection.
Engaging a planting season requires thought. Take a step back to view the landscape and associated details. Ask yourself good questions. As you answer those questions, you lay the foundation for a good planting plan. Remember – even though the planting process can be enjoyable despite hard work required, the end goal is harvest!
Here are some questions you might consider. There are many more. These pertain to the soil of your heart and mind, as well as the earth. For example – your relationships, community, education, career. Your heart, mind, well-being. And your future, family, legacy.
- What do you want to grow?
- What fruit do you hope to show for your labors?
- Do you have the right seeds? The right ground? Tools? Additives and fertilizers?
- Have you tested your soil to be certain its chemistry is appropriately balanced for the desired crop?
- Is your planting location prime? Will it get lots of sunshine? Do other seasonal crops create a threat to your planting receiving critical rays of sun (i.e., large trees that leaf-out as summer progresses)?
- Have you tilled your soil well and raked it to an even spread for necessary rows and hills to welcome seeds?
- How will you deal with unwelcome growth? Weeds? Perhaps you don’t know what certain weeds look like compared to the desired planting. This means some reading, and research.
- How can you keep your fields free of weeds that steal resources needed by the desired crop?
- What is your plan for insects and small animals that eat your planting as it develops – and then your crop as it comes to full yield?
- Where is your water supply, and do you have ample?
- Is there anything you should do this season to produce greater harvest in future seasons?
- In what ways should you prepare for ample time and energy to ensure proper planting, growing season, and harvest?
What questions have you been asking yourself as you reflect on your planting plan? Remember: these things refer to the earth’s planting – as well as the life plantings of your heart and mind.
Planning is essential as you invest in current and future life harvests. A good plan requires an accurate grasp of facts and proven action steps. Those steps develop from answering good questions as suggested previously in reflection.
Planning is motivated by the rejoicing and hope of anticipated yield. It involves gathering and integrating relevant data with goals you establish. Planning may involve experiences from previous harvests, lessons learned, or research into new approaches. This quality also involves implementing needed changes. Laying out a logical, informed, step-by-step approach develops your plan into a practical document. And that means harvest.
Planning is essential in plantings of your heart and mind. Does your plan include your whole life?
This quality, to a great degree, determines your success. Discipline is essential for any worthy life endeavor. Other words that help define what this means – “buy-in,” resolve, commitment, whatever-it-takes, hard work, never give up, not lazy, etc.
The best way to unwrap discipline is to apply it in regular, daily allotments – whether you feel like it or not. Keep in mind, this strong push for success follows proper planning required so you can succeed. How is your discipline doing?
Rejoicing is a term Scripture often uses when referring to harvest – especially spiritual harvest. It’s a happy time bringing in fruit of much labor. Joy from toil. In fact, it seems almost immoral to ignore a harvest. How terrible to leave fruit to rot in a field or garden. Such a waste – a very sad thing. But to pick, gather, and bring in everything that grows from a season of planting, is fulfilling and happy. This is true for matters of the heart, as well. Relationships, personal growth, influence in others’ lives, knowing God better, and much more.
Dependence On God
Whether reflecting, planning, discipline, or rejoicing – it helps to remember utter dependence on God is critical. 2 Cor. 9:10 says, “Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.” God works. You work.
Partnering with God for harvest is the only way to grow a crop, and it’s God’s original design. God loves the planting process. He’s quite a gardener. Jesus talked a lot about farming and harvest. His life purposefully engaged reflection, planning, discipline, and rejoicing.
God expects harvest. When Jesus was on earth with His disciples, they passed a fig tree on one journey. Jesus was hungry and looked for fruit on the tree. There was none. He was disappointed – perhaps even upset at no harvest – no fruit where there was supposed to be. Jesus cursed the fig tree to never bear fruit again. (Mt. 21:19; Lk 13:7) Our Creator expects fruit – harvest – from every planting in life.
Perhaps you are tired or discouraged in the planting process. Take encouragement from Galatians 6:9. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Partnering with God involves time and patience, as well as faithful work. It also involves enjoying the privilege of working with God. This is a “rejoicing” that comes even before a harvest begins. Simply doing what God created you to do in partnership with Him – that’s deep, satisfying joy.
Sometimes it’s hard to keep going. Renew your courage with Heb. 12:11, which says, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” You have the privilege and capacity to be a disciplined gardener with excellent yield.
- How is your yield this year?
- What kind of planting plan do you have?
- Are you engaging reflection, planning, discipline, and rejoicing?
- Have you recorded your thoughts, observations, and your plan’s action steps?
- What do you want to hear Jesus say when He reviews your harvest?