This year has been a year of harvest. I love those times when God’s promises ripen and we get to taste the fruit of His faithfulness, our eyes opened to see His perfect plans worked out. This year has been filled with such fruits. While some ripened throughout the year, others had been ripening for five, and even ten years. In reflecting on these now completed testimonies, I realised something. All these were plans I had in my heart – visions for God’s kingdom and for fellowship; things I had thought about and even planned steps for in my mind. Yet, some of these I saw fulfilled in ways I did not expect, and through people I had not then known. In seeing and tasting this fruit, I rejoice and am also filled with reverence for God’s ways – He has done it all, and done it in a more excellent way.
[Proverbs 16:9] – “A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord determines His steps.”
God gives me a vision for what He desires. He gives me vision but He does not necessarily mean for me to go ahead and plan how all this might come to be. He is sharing His desire with me and, as I pray and long for these desires to be fulfilled, God shows me what He can do. His plans, and His resources are better than my own. God prepares many people to work out his plans and it fills me with awe. It makes me see the well-known passage of [Luke 10:2] in a different light:
“Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest.””
Often when I have prayed this, I have also thought about practical ways to help. While this is good, I have also caught myself thinking and planning from my own resources on multiple occasions. The harvest is not about me, and its success is not about what I can do to make the harvest work. The harvest is all about God. [1 Corinthians 3:7] says,
“So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.”
In this, I am reminded that I am here to do what God has called me to do. I want to focus on serving Him faithfully. I do not need to come up with a plan for every desire and vision He gives me. God does that, and I follow as He leads. Sometimes, this means encouraging others and letting them do the planting and the watering, then watching God give the increase. When I pray for God to send out labourers into His harvest, I want to pray not only that I will be faithful in my laboring, but that God will raise up others to labour in His field, and equip them fully. It is not about what I can do to produce a harvest, but about seeing how God grows it, and brings many labourers into his field to enjoy it. This prayer is not just about the harvest being unsaved souls, it is also about the harvest as the kingdom of God. It is about not only sending labourers into the harvest, but about creating labourers and training them up to enter the harvest of God’s kingdom.
Moreover, the Lord of the Harvest is extravagant. Perhaps it was in order to highlight this journey that God showed me some things in my own garden. We had our first proper harvest of loquats this year, and while it was desired, it was also somewhat unexpected. At the beginning of the fruiting season, I asked God if we could just taste a couple of fruits from our garden this year. Last year, I tried all sorts of measures to protect the fruit but got nothing. The birds ate them all, and in my frustration, I eventually wrapped the remaining fruits up in aluminum foil. This effectively prevented them from ever ripening and they were unable to be enjoyed by both ourselves and the birds.
This year, I put on a bit of netting, but just on a bough – an area that would at least the yield some protected fruit. The loquats ripened and I rushed to collect some before the birds. Somehow this year, even the fruit outside the net was left relatively untouched. I collected a jar full, then another jar the following day. That was more than enough and I was glad to be able to pack some fruit for friends. The following week, thinking the birds would likely have eaten the rest, I went out to the garden again. To my surprise, more loquats had ripened and these remained untouched. This time, I was able to collect a good basketful of loquats, and all these from outside the netted bough. It was as if God confirmed that spiritual harvest I had been reflecting on and said – “You asked for one, but I have given more. You asked for two, but what I have is plentiful.”
If this is the case, why should we not ask? God is willing to give. Why should we not ask for more? God has all things in abundance. So, let us ask according to His will, because we know that God will answer.
[2 Peter 1:3-4] – “… as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
[John 14:14] – “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”
If we have, and we have in such abundance, why should we not give to others? Why should we not give back to God who has given all to us?
[2 Corinthians 9:8] – “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”
[Deuteronomy 16:17] – “Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you.”
The harvest truly is plentiful, and in its season, we can remember this: that in all the fulfilling of His promises towards us, in every answered prayer, in every answered desire – God loves us. He loves, not just a little, but with the kind of love we can hardly fathom, a love we can grow to understand and experience for eternity. The Lord of Harvest wants us to delight in His fruit. He wants us to desire it, see it ripen, and taste its overflowing goodness. God is good, and He loves us exceedingly well, so come and join His harvest!
[1 John 3:1] – “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God…”