There is a richness to the harvest season on the prairies which speaks of bounty like no other. As warm summer air cools to the crispness of fall, lumbering combines reap the grain from swaths of golden wheat and farmer’s markets abound in bright pumpkins and baskets of rosy apples. This is the reward for months of preparing the soil, planting the seed, and nurturing the crops. Cultivation is a long, slow process requiring patience and perseverance before a crop can be harvested.
Think of the human heart as a barren field. God’s desire is to see that field produce a harvest of righteousness and peace. (Hebrews 12:11) He longs to walk in union with hearts releasing the sweet fragrance of the fruit of the Spirit. But much work is required before such a harvest will be realized.
A fallow heart needs cleaning before it can be planted. The weeds and rocks of sin can only be uprooted before the Lord, who purifies us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) Our confession and repentance plus God’s forgiveness gives Him an uncluttered heart in which to work.
A prepared heart is ready to receive the seed, the word of God. (Luke 8:11)
Seeds cannot be planted without human help; neither can the word of God be planted in a heart without the human decision to open a Bible and read it. Seed scattered on top of the soil is soon blown away or eaten by birds. It needs to be pushed into the soil where it can receive nutrients and moisture for it to germinate. A light sampling of the word of God is not enough to germinate a fruitful spiritual life. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop. (Luke 8:15)
A dedicated farmer spends time assessing the development of his crop. Throughout the growing season he walks between the rows of sprouting seeds, checking soil moisture content and if fertilizer or insecticide is needed. A crop doesn’t grow well without this daily attention. Neither does the heart produce a harvest without being nurtured daily in God’s presence, meditating on His word and cultivating intimacy through prayer and worship. Think of a private devotional time as “fertilizer” for the heart, vital for healthy spiritual development.
Some growing seasons are long, requiring perseverance before a crop is produced. From spring planting through summer growth, a farmer waits patiently for the harvest season when his careful cultivation will bear fruit. The harvest of a heart cultivated for Christ is an orderly, peaceful life, fruitful in service to others and spreading everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him. (2 Corinthians 2:14)
The farmer does not keep his crop for himself. He harvests and sells it to help feed others around the world, then he cares for his own family’s needs with his income. Our own heart’s harvest produces for us an ever-deepening intimacy with our heavenly Father plus an abundant surplus to give away to others. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Luke 6:38)
What is your heart producing?