My toes sank into mud and water as I followed my language teacher into the rice field. Other students grabbed scythes, listening closely as the owner of the field shared the proper procedure for harvest. We wanted to get it right.
The family that owned the rice fields had carefully tended these plants. They hoped for the right amount of rain in rainy season, for the cool winds of dry season to start at the right time for harvest.
My farm girl heart warmed when I held the first bunch of harvested rice in my arms. I wasn’t the one waiting, watching, hoping for abundance, but I had the opportunity to taste and see the results.
Whether you have watched combines making their way through a corn field, put away garden vegetables for a long winter, or simply enjoyed fresh fruits in your local market, you know the beauty of harvest time.
In some way or another we all hope for harvest. We want the blood, sweat and tears poured out on cross-cultural soil to be worth it. We want to see more people love Jesus, more hungry fed, or searching hearts to know they have a place to belong. We want our children to love learning, to show compassion and kindness. We want the seeds of justice to reap the bounty of peace.
But the waiting is hard. Sometimes the soil is rocky, and any hint of harvest feels far off.
For a long time, I felt the weight of the harvest resting squarely on my shoulders. I woke every morning to the slow chanting of monks at a funeral service down the road or the noise of motos on their way to the market, and shame would awaken in my heart too. Am I doing enough? Why haven’t I seen fruit? Is it because of me, and my lack?
A friend and mentor reached through WhatsApp straight to my soul with these words: Sarah, you are not God.
Well, of course not, I thought! But when I paused to take a hard look at my heart, I realized I had put myself there on His throne because I felt keenly the responsibility of the harvest that could only come from Him.
I needed a daily reminder to let go and let Him work, and so I stuck a Post-It note right on my mirror. You are not God.
Luke chapter ten has served as a rallying cry and spurred prayer for many an overseas worker. As Jesus sends out his disciples and others, he says, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out more workers into his harvest” (Luke 10:2, CSB).
It’s not Sarah’s harvest, or your harvest. The harvest is the Lord’s. Do we have a part in it? Yes! I’m so grateful, actually, that he allows us to join Him, just like those rice farmers invited my classmates and me to be part of their harvest.
He invites us to come before Him, the Lord of the harvest. And come and come and keep coming! This invitation to trust requires so much surrender in my own heart. I need His tender cultivation to separate the ways in which I need to obey, to be available to Him, and the shame and responsibility that must fall away because it is not mine to carry.
This invitation from the Lord of the harvest is there for you too, friend. May you feel the joy and release of trusting Him completely in the areas where you long to see fruit.
Where do you desire to see harvest in your life and work right now?