2021_02_16 Insight Post- Jessica Woodcock
This week's reading- Matthew 13 & 14
My husband and I grew up in farm country. One of my favorite places to be is balancing on top of a full hay wagon, slinging bales onto the elevator to be stacked by my husband who's waiting on the other end. My in-laws work hard all year long in order to fill their barn with hay and we often time our summer trips home to coincide with harvest so that we can help them gather their hard-earned harvest into the safety of the barn.
Having grown up in that atmosphere, we cherish the fruits of the field. Virginia is blessed by a long growing season but is cursed with red clay. For the last few years, we have toiled in a small garden during the spring and summer months. There are many considerations; it is difficult to build up enough fertile dirt to allow the roots to go deep, consistent sunlight can be hard to find due to the tall trees and then there are the weeds, bugs, deer, rabbits and birds to contend with. However, after a few weeks and months we are rewarded with sweet lettuces, bountiful green beans, zucchini, squash and a favorite of ours, pickling cucumbers. The rewards of our labors are so much sweeter than anything we could purchase in a store.
In Matthew 13:3-9, Jesus tells the disciples the fate of some seeds that a farmer sowed in a field. It can be difficult at times to learn from the Word of God. He explains His words later in verses 18 – 23. Some people harden their hearts and refuse to hear the words of the Lord, their hearts are like the seeds cast by the wayside, snatched up by the wicked one, with no change ever reaching their hearts (v. 13:19). Other people expect life with Jesus to be easy, He is received with joy, with excitement to reap the benefits of life with Christ, but the true meaning of following Christ doesn’t penetrate their souls and their roots never grow deep (v. 13:20-21) and when faced with difficulty they turn away, thinking that God doesn’t truly care or that He doesn’t exist. For others, they receive the Word, but don’t change their lifestyle. They continue to spend their time in the same ways they did prior to hearing the Word and eventually fall prey to those around them, seeking riches and pleasure (v. 13:22).
The last group Jesus talks about are the seeds that fell on good ground (v 13:23). They received the Words of Christ; grew deep roots as they faced trials; and changed their lifestyles to match their new life with Christ. These are the seeds that grow fruits and yield a crop. As I think about how sweet the fruits of labor are from our small garden, I am in awe of how dull that must be in comparison to a new life in Christ. Luke 15:10 says “In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.” And in Zephaniah 3:17 “For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” When you turn your life over to God, He and the angels rejoice! How blessed am I, that God and His angels rejoice over me and with me?
But the parable doesn’t end there. Verse 8 says “The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” Our job doesn’t stop with listening to the Word of God and allowing Him to transform us. Our life with Christ just begins when we accept Him, we have an important commission to fill. We are to bear fruit!
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28: 18-20
Jesus says in John 4:35 “...But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest.”
The fields are ripe! People are ready! And we are commanded to go out to them. For those of us who have accepted Christ, our main focus should be reaping the harvest. Just as my in-laws toil year round, He has done the work to prepare the harvest for us! I’m not saying the harvest is easy, it certainly is not…. but what a treasure it is to be able to come in during the last moments of the season, do a small portion of the work and share in the fruits of God’s labor.
Will you join with me in gathering the harvest?
Family Ministry Administrative Assistant