Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Eternal Harvest

If you are faithful in sowing seed, in planting well, the time will come for the harvest. Here's the question: are you still hungry for corn?

That is, do you still long for the very thing you planted or have your tastes changed my now? This is the cautionary tale of the planter.

Because what is the truth about the harvest? The truth is that it doesn't come overnight. It doesn't come in the next day or the next week or the next month. A few seasons have to pass before the seed you've planted grows into something valuable, which is why you have to consider just what it is you're sowing.

This is why I think so many people are perpetually dissatisfied with their lives. We simply forget about the seasons and turn toward the harvest without consider the growth process in between - because as the seasons are changing, so are we. Imagine at this point in your life, you are focused on that big promotion at work. So you ready the ground, prepare yourself to make the big moves necessary to acquire the attention of the promoting manager. Then you put in the work and diligently fulfill your duties, above and beyond, with one eye on the corner office. A season passes as you're proving yourself, and then you get there. The job is yours for the taking. But do you still want it? Does it mean as much in the harvest as it did when you planted it? Sometimes, sure. Often times, no. Because come harvest time, you're reflecting on the passing season and realizing how different you are now, one way or the other, and what seemed so important in the spring doesn't hold so much in the fall.

I'll let you fill in the blanks.

The truth is that so many of the things we're planting don't matter to us in the harvest because in the passing of seasons, we change. Our longings change. Our ideals change. Our understandings change. And by necessity, our appetites change. You know this much is true from the farmer's tale - if you only planted the things you wanted to eat, without accounting for the seasons, we'd never have pumpkins. Because at the time you have to plant them, nobody's thinking pumpkin pie. We're thinking fresh greens and bright berries and aromatic herbs; we're not thinking nutty, earthy, harvest deliciousness. Not in March or April. But thank the good Lord someone knows that in October, I'm going to want pumpkin and they plan accordingly. (I'm already eating pumpkin and persimmon this year. Too early?)

I think this is why Jesus told so many parables of the farmer and the seed, the harvest and the fields. I think He wanted to get us in a planter's state of mind so that we would understand exactly what it is that we sow. He wants us to think about the season we're in, what our appetite says now, and what we need to plant for the next season so that we're not disappointed in the harvest. So that when we want pumpkin, we have it.

That's not to say we can't think short-term; it is to say we simply need a little understanding. Not every crop takes so long to grow. Plant Zucchini at Easter, and you will have it in April. And May. And June. And July. And August. And every month until the frost kills it or you pull the darned thing out of the ground because you don't know what you'll do with one more zucchini. But if you don't plant your pumpkins in the spring, there won't be any in the fall. You have to know what you're sowing.

So I ask you that question: what are you sowing? And what do you want to harvest? Praise has a pretty quick turnaround time. Plant praise today and you will harvest it tomorrow. And the next day and the next day.... Hope, on the other hand, has a longer growing period. Confident assurance, even longer still. And a few seasons may pass before you see it, which is why you have to plant such things in a ground that doesn't change. Solid ground, if you will. The good soil of God who will be faithful to grow it through your seasons so that when you're ready, so is it and when it's ready, so are you and the passing of seasons hasn't changed either of you so much that the hope is irrelevant. No, it tastes mighty good right about now.

Kind of like pumpkin. Delicious, delicious pumpkin.

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