Friday, April 25, 2014

The Seedtime and Harvest Cycle

"The soil produces crops by itself...when the crop permits, he immediately puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come." Mark 4:28-29.

Jesus told the parable of the sower which is about a man who plants seed into the ground. We learn from this story that the seed is the Word of God and the soil is the heart. Jesus explains to His disciples that the condition of the heart determines the growth of the Word and whether or not it will grow to the point of harvest, as well as the size of the harvest. 

He goes on to tell the parable of the seed where we read that the one who plants the seed is not the one who determines the timing of the harvest. The harvest comes "when the crop permits." What is the crop? The crop is what is produced when the seed is allowed to mature. In other words, the seed, grown into a fruit-producing crop, determines the time of the harvest. The sower's job is to sleep and rise, night and day, making sure his life is in sync with the cycle of the seed. Our job is to cycle our lives after the pattern of the Word sown in our hearts, and let the Word bring the harvest time.

Even though the man does not determine when harvest time is, he must be able to recognize when its time to harvest. He does this by looking at the maturity of the fruit. If he doesn't recognize the fruit then it goes to seed and the whole process starts over again, and he's missed his harvest. We need to keep in close touch with the Word of God planted within our hearts so we will recognize and be in sync with His proper timing of harvest.

Why would the sower not recognize when it's harvest time? 
  • Maybe he's looking for the familiar form of seed and not for the mature form of fruit. He hasn't kept the Word close enough to him, so he can recognize it as it changes and develops.
  • Maybe he hasn't had the experience of reaping, but has only been served fruit that has been harvested by someone else. He's only seen the fruit after it's been plucked off the vine, washed, cut up and processed to fit someone else's taste. We don't receive the benefit of our harvest if we rely on the leftovers of someone else's harvest. We need to learn to harvest our own Word! 
Maybe we should teach people to plant the Word in their heart themselves, cycle their life around the cycle of the Word, stay so close to the Word that they recognize the mature fruit--the form it takes after maturing in their heart--so they can pluck it from the Vine themselves receiving the freshest form of life! The Word has been sown in your heart. It's a timely Word, unique to your life and situation, now pay close attention so you don't miss your harvest!

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