Word of the Month

God determines the time of harvest

November 2011

In his letter to the Galatians, Apostle Paul writes: “… in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” When he wrote this, things were not going as he had hoped in this congregation in Galatia, a region in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). The Galatians were apparently in the process of pushing the glad tidings of the resurrection of Jesus – and the liberation from the law associated with it – off to the side. They wanted to bring back the prescriptions of the Mosaic Law of the old covenant, which Paul considered to have been overcome through the life and death of Jesus Christ. Paul speaks out against this in no uncertain terms. At the end of his letter, he points out how important it is to give room to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In the natural sense, the image of the harvest which Paul uses here demonstrates that if one sows a seed, one will at some point in time be able to harvest. I understand sowing to mean doing good works, that is that which pleases God. For example, it pleases God when we cultivate a strong prayer life, attend the divine services, foster fellowship, offer, and profess Him. In so doing, we constantly sow good things. In the process, however, it is always God who decides the time of the harvest. If we sow seed one day we cannot expect to harvest something the next day already. We must wait until the time has come.  The time of harvest is determined by God. What is important though is that we sow the seed. A farmer who only sows seed in a quarter of his field and then decides to stop will have have to live with the fact that his harvest will turn out to be rather poor. It is no different spiritually. And what is the harvest spiritually speaking? For one we gather joy and divine blessing already here and now. But the greatest and most important harvest will be revealed when the Lord returns and when we are accepted by Him to live in fellowship with Him for all eternity.

Now is the time of sowing. At some point in the future we will harvest. The time for this will be determined by God. This is just like sowing in the natural: we cannot determine when we would like to harvest. That is also how it is with the day of the Lord. We do not know when this great harvest will come, that is when the Lord will send His Son. This lies in the hands of God. But as long as the Lord has not yet come we still have an opportunity to keep sowing. Or to put it in the words of Apostle Paul: “Therefore, as we have the opportunity, let us do good.” Let us not waste a single day in doing good, so that we will not have to reproach ourselves later on. Let us therefore remain true to the Lord and never become tired. Let us always bow before the Lord in heartfelt humbleness and do that which pleases Him. That way we will continually remain united with one another until the Lord completes His work. May this soon be the case!                          

(From a divine service by the Chief Apostle)