Harvest Days Word on the Week 3rd August 2019.
Harvest days are here again! The fields are golden with ripened grain. The combine harvesters are slowly clanking their way through the crops. The grain trailers driving alongside the combine pick-up the grain as it is funnelled over their tall sides then off they go to the mill.
Precision sowing of the seed at the end of last year produced rows of oats, barley or wheat according to what was sown. The dry weather means it ripened slightly earlier than usual but the crops will probably weigh out lighter. The stalks or straw are gathered up by a baler, packed tightly into a cylindrical shape and secured with a membrane. These bales are gathered into sheds and provide winter bedding for cattle or augment their feed.
In Jesus parable the seed is likened to the Word of God (St Luke Chapter 8 verse 11).
The seed falls into four types of soil. Each soil represents a type of person. The first is hard ground and the seed doesn’t root but is food for the birds. Jesus said that the birds were like the devil who takes away the Word so that people with hard hearts will not believe it and be saved.
The second is stony ground. The seed grows fast but does not last as it has no root system. These represent those who receive the Word with joy but when testing times come they fall away.
The third soil grew thorns which choked the seed of the Word. Jesus said the thorns that did this were worries, riches and pleasures.
The forth soil was good for growth and the seed by persevering produced a crop (St Luke Chapter verses 11 to 15).
Just as the farmer does not stand idly by watching the seed grow but weeds and nourishes it to get the best crop. So Jesus, at first, is seen by sinners as a threat disrupting our way of life. This is why we hide from Him or oppose Him. We resist the witness of other Christians and in various ways defend ourselves. It takes time for the seed of the Word to grow – sometimes it seems a lifetime!
In quoting Jesus on the fourth type of soil – the one sustaining Christian life St Luke puts it “They are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience”. The last word ‘patience’ could be translated
‘perseverance’ which is “persisting in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success”.
Coming to faith in Christ is similar to farming. It is the seed of the Word that has life.
It has many enemies but none that can withstand Jesus – the Lord of the harvest (St Matthew Chapter 13 verses 36 to 43). He who has ears, let him hear.