Tuesday, December 05, 2006
The Immutable Law of Sowing and Reaping
Which is harder, Sowing or Reaping? Neither! The hardest part of this combination is the space that exists between the sowing and reaping. I believe this is why Paul told the Galatians, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." After the sowing comes cultivating and caring for the soil in which the seed has been planted. If proper care isn't administered through this time, the seed may not germinate and if it doesn't, their most definitely won't be a harvest.
"I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth."
ICorinthians 3:6 ESV
Paul sows the seed and Apollos waters (cares) for the seed and in the right season, God gives the necessary growth. Our jobs are to sow and water, not manufacture an increase on our work. The "big thought" of this post is this. In the process of sowing and reaping it's easy to succumb to the pressures of "making" something happen. Many times we rush the process of sowing and reaping because we fear that if it takes too long, we've done an inadequate job somewhere down the line. "Don't become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up!"
I see this impatience as the greatest threat to a healthy harvest. We grow impatient in the process and in frustration we either give up or become tempted to create a counterfeit harvest. We try to make something happen and in our futile attempts we damage the seed we were supposed to nurture to a harvest.
I see this in Ministry all too often. We think in terms of pre-defined time lines. We give this person "X" amount of days, weeks or months to show signs of real change and growth. If after this pre-defined time they aren't showing the outward signs we seek, we give up on them because the seed must have fallen on "bad" soil. We'll give this new ministry model, idea or new way of doing it 2 months....if after the 2 months there isn't noticeable growth, we'll cut it. These are all short-circuiting the "germination" process. We circumvent the process that is , to us, clearly failing and manufacture our way of doing it...only to find out that our way doesn't work.
One of the many things I've learned in my 9 years of pastoring...don't give up before the harvest is ripe! This, being my first attempt at pastoring, I could have given up many times. But, I wouldn't have seen the great harvest that God has brought about thus far! I'm learning everyday the importance of simply caring for the soil in which the seeds are being planted and waiting on God to bring about growth....when He thinks it's time. I don't want to be guilty of attempting to reap prematurely.
Whatever season of life God has you in right now, take confidence in the Immutable Law of Sowing and Reaping. Don't rush yourself or anyone else into a premature harvest or no harvest at all!