Driving the country roads around our rural home in Ohio, the fields are noticeably barren.
It was a bad planting season. Rainfall throughout the Spring left many farmers unable to plant crops, and those that did plant, planted very little. The tough Spring led to an even harder Harvest Season.
The farmers and families are in my prayers, and as I reflect on their hardship, I am reminded of the many scripture references that define the optimal conditions for growth. Verses and parables describe what to plant, when to plant, how to plant, and how to nurture the seeds that have been planted.
Plants need the right conditions to grow, and so do we. Unlike plants though, we aren’t reliant upon the weather to determine our harvest. We have control over most of the conditions we are subject to. If we want to grow, we can prune, weed, water, and seek sunlight (or Son-light if you will.)
Pruning. When we prune, we cut back excess growth and remove dead ends. Pruning actually stimulates new growth and improves overall health. We need to prune our schedules, our possessions, and our thoughts to create space for new growth. How do you spend your time? Your money? What do you think about? The answers to these questions quickly reveal areas that need pruning.
Weeding. When we weed, we remove growth that was unintentionally planted. I think weeds in our life most often show up as bad habits. Without intention, we develop bad habits. This is because we view the occasional splurge, indulgence, or little white lie as harmless. Regrettably though, they are not harmless, and they can quickly and easily grow into deeply rooted weeds that are difficult to remove. Someone once pointed out to me that the word “discipline” has “disciple” in it. This serves as a great reminder to me that in order to be disciples, we must be disciplined in how we lead our lives. The verse that stands out to me most when reflecting on discipline, is Matthew 7:13-14;
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
It’s hard to stay focused and disciplined. Personally, I’m easily distracted by social media, peanut butter cups, and online shopping (not in that particular order.) These distractions take me off course and keep me from the growth that I desire. To grow, I need to spend my time in activities that truly feed me.
Water & Son-light. Even more than we need to prune our schedules, and weed our habits, we need to feed our souls. Time in prayer, gratitude, and service are far more satiating than time in Pinterest-land or a Netflix binge. Earthly distractions cannot substitute for the vital nutrients we need. Whether we want to grow spiritually, emotionally, physically, or even financially, we need to seek out the Son. Only His input can increase our output during Harvest Season.