I woke up early on a spring morning and peeked out the window to see a fresh blanket of snow on our lawn. Three short days earlier, we had one glimpse of spring where birds began warming up their voices, and the sun began stretching out its rays. I even broke out my bike and rode it around town. A few weeks before that, I overheard a conversation betwixt several farmers about seed prices. Cardinal choirs. Sunshine. Seed prices. Can only mean one thing—spring has sprung.
And with spring, comes planting. Dad used to let me plant the cucumbers. He knew how much I loved a crisp cucumber dipped in cold Ranch dressing, so he planted all the other crops, but saved the cucumbers for me. “Here. Space these apart. Go ahead.” So I got down on my hands and knees and began dropping one cucumber seed after another in the freshly tilled garden.
By the time I finished one row, it seemed like we could supply cucumbers for the United States armed forces. There were so many seeds. But the joy doesn’t come in planting the seed; it only comes in harvesting the crop. Or so I thought.
Until I read John 4 this morning. Jesus was still sitting by Jacob’s well in Sychar. The Samaritan woman had already dropped her waterpot and bolted into the city screaming about a man who knows everything about her and loves her anyway. He even calls Himself Messiah. As the crowds were closing up shop to come to the well, Jesus’ band of merry men came walking up with lunch. “Here you go, Jesus. Have a bite. You must be an hungred.”
But Jesus didn’t waste time teaching them not to waste time. “You’ve heard it said, ‘four months between planting and harvest,’ but I tell you to lift up your eyes. The fields are ripe already to harvest…What joy awaits both the planter and harvester alike!”
I knew there was joy in harvesting. That’s when the farmers bring into the house all the crops that grew in the field. But I didn’t realize there should be equal joy in planting. But Jesus taught the one who plants and the one who harvests will both rejoice. It makes sense. If someone is to reap a harvest in the fall, someone must be willing to plant in the spring.
In the Kingdom, it seems much more fun to harvest than to plant. But Jesus taught it should also be fun to plant. I’m thankful for the times we harvest: when people repent of their sins, when they’re baptized in water in Jesus’ name, and when they’re baptized with the Holy Ghost. I’m thankful for the times the families who come on the vans go to the altar.
But I’m also thankful for faithful saints of God who walk into a living room with a Bible and a burden and teach hungry souls a Bible study. I rejoice when our students go to camp and are filled with the Holy Ghost, but I also rejoice every Sunday morning when they go to Sunday school or youth class and are filled with a knowledge of the Word of God and a desire to know the God of that Word. I rejoice with the harvester, but I’m also thankful to get to be a planter.
As the sun begins to peek from behind gray clouds this spring, we’ll see tractors come out of hiding and farmers tilling their fields. When you do, rejoice with them knowing their planting now will reap a harvest later. And rejoice knowing the planter and the harvester will join together to enjoy the fruits of their labors.
So will we.
L.J. Harry is thrilled to be the husband to Andrea, daddy to Maki and Raylee. He also serves as editor for InsideOut and pastor of Apostolic Christian Church in Mount Vernon, Ohio.