Most people keep a garden for the bounty of produce it provides. They sow the seed with their mind on the reaping. “I’ll live on fresh salsa when these tomato plants bear fruit.”
Reaping means seeing the fruit on the vine after the seed has had time to germinate, sprout, grow, flourish, flower and produce a baby tomato that ripens under the summer sunshine.
Spiritual harvest often goes unnoticed in our present world. The spiritual realm surrounds us but isn’t visible to our human eyes.
However, God wants His children to take note of the ripening in the world around them. Jesus admonished his disciples to “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” (John 4:35). The same is true today.
Last week, we discussed the Parable of the Sower and the process of spreading God’s word. The work is not finished once the seed is sown. In the parable, we see that “some brought forth an hundredfold.” That’s the spiritual bounty each of us should be striving for in our life.
After all, isn’t that why we plant? We baby that tomato plant because we can taste the delightful fresh-made salsa at harvest time. Even with flowers, we want to see the beautiful blooms, not just a few scraggly stalks.
Reaping is about the Son
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit” (John 15:5).
In our physical garden, we won’t expect much of a harvest if the sun hasn’t been shining on our crops. Plants require sunlight to grow.
The same is true in the spiritual garden. We need the Light of the World, Jesus Christ, the Son of God to nourish us if we expect to bear fruit.
Plug into the Son if you want to get any spiritual work done. Without him we can do nothing (John 15:5). Sowing in our own strength won’t yield fruit.
Reaping is Personal
No one can accept Christ for you. No one can make Christ the Lord of your life except for you. Your yield of fruit is commensurate with your ability to abide in Christ.
What is abiding? Abide means to stay, be unmovable, dwell permanently. When we abide in Christ, we make him our foundation.
The illustration of a vineyard is a beautiful metaphor that should help us abide in Christ. Christ is “the true vine” (John 15:1). The vine isn’t that part of the grape tree that winds everywhere and gets clusters of grapes on it. The vine is the big old stump in the middle of all those branches that’s connected to the ground.
Jesus grounds us. Just like soil, he provides water and nourishment. Yes, he is our ground and our sunlight. Fruit production is all about Jesus and how much we’re depending on Him.
Reaping takes Dedication
Humans have a fallen nature. We are that apple tree that gives tiny, wormy apples. Of ourselves, we can’t produce a single edible grape.
Next Week: How to be a Productive Vine