*In the days ahead we will be gathering together to reflect on the past year and offer thanks for all we’ve been given and I thought it would be appropriate to share this excerpt from our book ‘Life in Season’ to remind us of how important it is to get to the harvest.*
My friend Shauna is a farmer’s wife. Now, before we go any further, take any preconceived perceptions you have of farmer’s wives and just throw them away. I have yet to see Shauna standing in front of a barn wearing an apron and holding a pitchfork. She is beautiful, incredibly stylish, very put together and one of the nicest, most sincere women you will ever meet. Shauna comes from a long generation of farmers, was raised as a farmer’s daughter and married a farmer who comes from a long generation of farmers. And she embraces this lifestyle with complete grace.
She takes lunch to her farmer out in the field and keeps dinner warm for him in the oven so that after a long, exhausting day he is greeted by a hot meal. She cans fruit and bakes amazing concoctions and loves nothing more than to look out her kitchen window at the field of crops just beyond. What I have recently come to learn about Shauna though, is that she is also incredibly knowledgeable about all things farming. She is a wealth of information about their crops, farming equipment and the business as a whole. I’ve never listened more intently to someone with such fabulous hair describe the inner workings of a combine.
Shauna and her husband are grass seed farmers. I will not pretend that I had any clue how you grow grass seed until I met her. Frankly, it wasn’t something that I thought about a whole lot, or ever for that matter. But the longer we have known them, the more fascinated I’ve become by the entire grass seed growing process. For example, until recently, I had never heard the term seed shattering. In early agriculture, seeds would easily shatter, or become susceptible to being dispersed as soon as they ripened. But thanks to modern advances, seeds are now retained longer which leads to a more plentiful harvest. And when your crop, your bread and butter, is seeds, you want to retain as many of them as possible.
I was curious to find out more about what exactly it means for a seed to shatter and what causes this to happen. You see, a farmer works incredibly hard to lay the groundwork for the perfect crop. The soil is carefully prepared, the seeds are carefully chosen and the planting time carefully planned. Each seed is nurtured in the same way. All receive the same attention and care. And yet, once they begin to grow there is so much that is outside of the farmer’s control. Those sprouts are now exposed to the elements and the whims of the weather. And prior to the technological advances I mentioned earlier, the risk of shattering seeds was always very high. The farmer wants to harvest as many of the seeds as possible, but there are those that just simply don’t make it. They shatter, or fall away, from the rest. And I’ve wondered, what was it about those seeds that kept them from hanging on until it was time to be harvested? What made them different? According to my research, the answer to that is that there are some seeds which just aren’t nourished enough, aren’t made strong enough to make it all the way through the growing season to harvest. I kind of feel sad for those seeds. They held all of the same promise, all of the same possibility, and yet they came up just short of seeing it fulfilled.
As is my tendency, I like to draw comparisons between the things I learn or experience and my faith journey. So, it comes as no surprise that my seed shattering education took me to a place of thinking about how we as people are so like those seeds. When we become followers of Christ, we are all given the same opportunity. We’re all offered the chance to grow to be more like Him and to share His grace and truth with others. But, then we hit the roadblocks. The things in life that tempt us to veer off course. We’re forced to confront our sins, we face challenges and difficulties and we battle our weaknesses. And along the way, it’s easy to see how we might become weakened to the point that when the big storms hit, we might just find ourselves shattering. Those storms tempt us to doubt God and His plan for our lives. They challenge everything we’ve known to be true and if we aren’t staying in His word and relying on His promises we will struggle to make it to the harvest. I’ll admit that when I first began processing this I was quick to think that it was all of those other ‘seeds’ that were at risk of shattering. Certainly I was a stronger seed than they. But, the truth of the matter is that I leave myself wide open all of the time to the risk of being shattered. I slip so easily into complacency or I rely on my own strength instead of that of my Heavenly Father, the farmer of my soul.
2 Corinthians 9:10-11 says, “Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”
You see, getting to the harvest is our goal. When we’ve remained rooted in Him throughout all of our growing season, through the sunshine and the rain, the storms and the droughts, we have been enriched. And the harvest is our opportunity to have all of that come to fruition. It’s our chance to take all that we’ve learned throughout that long growing season and harvest it, generously sharing it with others and offering thanks to God.
May you have a blessed Thanksgiving dear friends,
P.S. If you liked this story, you can find more just like it celebrating all of the seasons of the year in our book ‘Life in Season: Celebrating the Moments That Fill Your Heart and Home‘