A Time to Harvest
The word harvest immediately takes me back to primary school when we had to bring canned goods and produce from home to give to the less fortunate. You knew it was a big deal because we'd have a special assembly that took weeks of preparation. Students brought their chairs from classrooms to the quadrangle, and special guests were treated like royalty. My favourite was when the choir would sing: "It's harvest, it's harvest, it's harvest time again. So bring ya pumpkin and watermelon, cassava, and peas and corn. Thank, thank, thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord, again."
As an adult, that whole ordeal now says one thing to me: 'harvest isn't for the benefit of one person.' I was reminded how the residual income of one moment had a rippling effect—and I like it.
I spent a lot of my Christian life reading my Bible and praying in the hopes of getting something from God. Be it for an answer, a blessing, or a colossal intervention, it was rarely, if ever, for the sake of just spending time with Him whom I (supposedly) love.
'Cause you know the thing about when people love you for real, they do things without you ever having to ask. For example, children often ask their parents for shoes because they want a particular pair. While a mother will look at a child's shoes and say, "These are due for an upgrade—no request needed!"
Throughout my research, I found that seven laws govern harvest—but I want to highlight four.
The Law of Kinds—We reap the same kind of seed as we sow.
Deeds are seeds, and they most certainly bear fruit. I learned this lesson the hard way. It took me a long time to understand that I should not give what I don't wish to receive. Never mind, it was one of those things adults drilled into children. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!" Eventually, I grasped the concept and became more intentional about my words and deeds.
Where I was mistaken was thinking everyone lived by this rule, too. Several botched relationships later, I was yanked from this delusion at the speed of molasses. However, this puts you in a place of not wanting to participate in the law of giving. Let me warn you, don't do that. #abortmission
The law of kinds is that we suspect where we sow, is where we'll reap—and that's not necessarily the case. We may feel that as long as we love folks a particular way, they'll do the same. Or, if we keep giving our offering to the church, they may write a check when in need. It could happen, but sometimes your seed of kind comes from an entirely different source.
So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honoured by men. I tell you the truth; they have received their reward in full. (Matthew 6:2)
The Law of Proportion—We reap in proportion as we sow
I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking, "man, what could I have done to deserve the longest series of unfortunate events in history?" While that may be true, also consider this; Researchers say that the average person speaks at least 7,000 words a day, and for people whose report cards said they talk too much, go 'head and multiply that number by three. Now think, how many of those words tore down instead of building up? To further put that in perspective, let's say half—that would mean you've sowed some 3,500 seeds of misunderstandings and animosity. So should you be surprised when you've extended no grace to people that it's now not extended to you? #cleanuponasile6
Paul puts it this way: 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. Galatians 6:7-8 NIV
The Law of Opportunity—We cannot change last year's harvest, but we can do something to improve this year's.
There have been moments in my life when I said 'deal' when I should have said 'no deal.' One can easily slip down the 'if I knew then what I know now' sinkhole, but what does that change? Nothing. Unlike the law of proportion, the law of opportunity permits the 'when you know better, do better' clause. As it states, we can improve going forward. Once you've learned that your mouth was the source of all your contention, I don't think you need any GCE to know you need to start speaking something different.
Not long ago, I focused more on my words than my actions. Then I realized I needed to zero in on my stewardship. How was I investing my time, and how was I investing my money? I implemented two elementary changes. When it came to my time, I began tithing that. Twenty-four minutes (initially) was what I spent with God. Eventually, that grew, but a starting point of consistency was the key. Then when it came to spending, I asked myself one simple question, "Do I need this, or do I want this?" Easily enough, the need for survival is always the deciding factor. Even before all that, were the necessities covered?
Luke states, "One who is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much." Luke 16:10 ESV
Bottom line, if last year's strategy didn't work, switch it up, Fam! You can keep doing the same thing expecting something different, but you know what they say that makes you.
The Law of Delayed Returns—We reap in a different season than we sow.
Before any tree bears fruit, it needs time to grow. That makes this law one of the most frustrating living in this here 21st century, especially when we gat 2-day shipping and same-day deliveries. 'Cause let me tell you, nothing tests your anxiousness like a delayed package, and nothing tries your composure like a delayed flight. But that fruit you're eating today wasn't planted and harvested yesterday.
In the natural, when we plant a seed, a date to harvest is calculated from the moment the seed hits the ground. Unfortunately, while you can put a time on when a tomato can ripen, you can't say when you'll reap your words and deeds.
There is a process of growth that leads to the harvest. The development phase known as germination is sprouting a seed, spore, or other reproductive body after it has lied dormant. As the process unfolds, water absorption, time, chilling, warming, oxygen availability, and light exposure may all play a role in growth. Translation: What you choose to surround yourself with accelerates or delays your progress.
Paul explains it like this, "I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It's not important who does the planting or who does the watering. What's important is that God makes the seed grow." 1 Corinthians 3:6-8 NLT
The question then becomes, "Are you positioned for growth?" The fact remains, and bottom-line—there can be no harvest if there is nothing to pick. I mean, why would you even receive a harvest if you aren't willing to share? Ask yourself, "What am I prepared to do with my increase?" #checkyourmotives If you are truly honest, more often than not, your heart's posture is causing the delay.