(Photo by Lindsay O’Neil)
By Michelle Ochen
A new season is upon us, leaves are falling from trees, colors are changing, the winds blow in- we call this season harvest. “To harvest” simply means to gather something together. It is a farming term, referring to the bringing in of good fruit. Reapers sent into the fields to harvest had one aim set on the simple task of bringing in the good fruits. The vegetation that had taken deep root and produced goodness was to be gathered together, and that which had stayed in the shallow ground, never maturing, or growing weeds was likewise gathered, but not to be brought in, rather burned away.
How does this have anything to do with one’s personal life in the midst of this season in the 21st century? It is the deep principle of harvest. The principle has not changed. Life gathers- gathers good and bad, and it is up to us what kind of soil we will cultivate in our hearts to determine the outcome of what is gathered from our lives.
Good soil makes a home for mature growth, full blossoming, and fruitful harvest, but shallow soil makes a home for immaturity, blooming weeds, and a useless harvest. Do you realize that you have a huge influence on the soil of your heart? Good soil has taken in the rain and allowed it to deepen its roots, clinging to a solid foundation and looking up to take in the sun’s delights for its good. Shallow soil has likewise received the rain, but has not soaked up what was brought its way. It instead complained or looked around at outward circumstances, finding only the shade, instead of the sun.
Shallow soil people live by impulse, seek after comforts and live for experiences. When the rain brings a need for self-control, endurance, pain, or discomfort, they pull away from the very roots they should be sinking down into. When things do not go according to expectation, they find only shade, and sit under it complaining that the sun never shines, forgetting that shade is only made possible if sunlight is still shinning above. Although the sun remains, they seek it not, living in the venting of their own difficulties, challenges, and hurts, refusing to look higher than the tree line. People that live accordingly live the easiest lifestyle. It is natural to pull away from discomfort, natural to become bitter when wrong things happen, natural to grow hard when you are hurt, natural to give into desire and allow weeds to spring up. It is natural, but is it right?
Good soil people live by depth, self-control, and testimony. When the rain beats hard upon them, they go deeper still. They cling to what they know is unchanging and persevere until the sun shines. Good soil people seek to find the good in all of life’s events. They understand and believe that if God works all things together for good for those who love Him, then they are to do their part of trusting and loving, and expecting Him to do His part of working good in the midst of the storm. They look for the sun, with confidence that it will shine through the tree line. Good soil people understand that life’s tests produce testimonies to make one stronger. Depth is found in such a person. A deeper perspective on life is found in one who has allowed the elements of life to bring richness to the soil of life. They exercise self-control to reject the natural tendencies and trust the Harvester’s plan. Is it the easy route? No, but it is the route that brings increase.
Harvest time comes for people of both soils. Life, and all of its weather and seasons, falls upon every man and woman. The difference lies in how one receives. The receiving determines the outcome. When we receive life’s challenges with a goal to see God in all things, we will see Him there, but when we receive life’s challenges with resentment for the difficulties they bring, we will produce weeds instead of fruit. As this season of harvest is upon us, let us pause and consider the soil of our hearts. How are we receiving that which life is raining upon us in this season? Are we trusting the Great Harvester of our hearts to cultivate His deep riches or are we choosing the natural instincts of the shallow way to satisfy for a temporal time? Let us be those who persevere until the harvest day and bring in good fruits of rejoicing to our Harvester who sustained us through all of life’s changes.