Welcome to Autumn! Or more colloquially, “Happy Fall Y’All!”
Fall is my favorite season. I like everything about it: the cooler temperatures, the colorful leaves, back-to-school, apples, pumpkins and gourds, fire pits, and two of my favorite holidays.
Another wonderful thing about Fall is the harvest. Harvest is the welcome reward for all the investing and tending and waiting since Spring. I fear that this is getting lost on newer generations that are farther from the land. And of course, these days we can find fruits and veggies in our grocery that are not in season here. But that isn’t how it used to be.
Back in the day, Harvest brought such joy because it was security for the future. A good harvest meant the farmers got paid for the year. A good harvest meant food to can, jam, dry, or pickle and store up to survive the winter. A good harvest meant that the family could bless others with the fruits of their labor. And what a joy to finally get to taste the fruits and vegetables as they came into season – things you hadn’t had fresh for a year.
THE LORD OF THE HARVEST
God also wants us to celebrate the Harvest. “Celebrate the Festival of Harvest with the firstfruits of the crops you sow in your field. Celebrate the Festival of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field. “ --Exodus 23:16 Yes, we harvest with joy, but God wants us to remember that the firstfruits of the harvest belong to Him. In truth, the entire harvest is His, because He has made everything and given us everything and blessed us with sun and rain.
But even more, God uses the harvest that nurtures our bodies, as a metaphor for the spiritual harvest that nurtures our souls.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. --Galatians 6:9
Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. --James 3:18
Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. --James 5:7
And the Spiritual Harvest is not just about us, it is about winning souls for Jesus and bringing in more people to spend eternity in Heaven. This is the last job Jesus gave us before returning to the Father, and it is what our Christian walk is truly all about:
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” --Matthew 9:36-38
Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. --John 4:35
Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, “Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” --Revelation 14:15
One day, soon and very soon, there will be a great Harvest Festival in Heaven. That will be the best celebration because the abundant Harvest will be our friends and families, our neighbors and co-workers, the kids we taught in VBS, the lady in the grocery line we spoke to, the waitress we prayed with, the Mom at the playground we invited to church, the missionaries we supported, the kids and families they won to Christ, the children around the world we supported and wrote to every month, our grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren who we never even met but who shared a legacy of love for Christ that we laid the foundation for. What a glorious day that will be! And if there’s some apple cider, s’mores, pumpkin bread and pickled beets there, all the better!