NIV- “Sluggards do not plow in season; so at harvest time they look but find nothing.”
While The Business Application of Sowing and Reaping (Parts 1 and 2) focused primarily on the first two stages of sowing and reaping (seed and progression time), we end the process with the final stage, harvest time.
To refresh your memory, after the farmer has completed the progression stage of irrigating, fertilizing and weeding his field, he waits in faith for the crops to spring from the ground. Finally, when the time comes for harvest, the farmer begins the stage of reaping. In order to reap, he cuts the crops for harvest with a sickle.
The key point is that we reap what we sow. If the farmer sows wheat, he expects to reap a harvest of wheat…not corn or something else. As former MLB manager Bill Meyer once said, “If you plant crab apples, don’t count on harvesting Golden Delicious.”
There is a secret there: If you aren’t happy with your current situation, make an effort to sow better, more productive, seeds more often. In 2 Corinthians 9:6 it says:
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” (NIV)
So the more good seeds we sow, the more good we reap. Our lives to date are the culmination of the decisions we’ve made in the past and where we will be in the future will depend on the future decisions we make. If you aren’t happy with where you are today, fear not. As the Theologian Tryon Edwards once said, “Right actions in the future are the best apologies for bad actions in the past.”
So what can we do to improve going forward? First, we can begin by identifying areas we need to make better decisions. What does that look like? Let’s say we need to up our productivity in our job. This was something I dealt with personally a few months back. I just felt like I wasn’t being as productive as I could have been. Around that time, I came across the famous quote by Benjamin Franklin, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Such a simple quote but I’ve made it a goal to wake up earlier and get to work a little earlier than my co-workers. I’ve found myself feeling productive before the clock has even hit 9am. It’s a great feeling to be productive early in the morning.
After we’ve identified areas and set goals to make better decisions, Leadership author John Maxwell says we need to do a better job decision-managing:
“What makes the difference in a person’s life is decision-managing. Successful people make right decisions early and manage those decisions daily. The first ingredient of success—making good decisions—has no real value without the second, which is practicing good discipline.”
Finally, while it is imperative we focus on sowing better seeds and improving our decision-making and managing moving forward, Bob Deffinbaugh, a writer for Bible.org, reminds us of the most important lesson of all on harvest time:
“Paul has previously spoken of the “fruit of the Spirit” in chapter 5. The “fruit of the Spirit” is the produce of God’s grace in the life of the Christian. When Paul speaks of “sowing and reaping” in chapter 6, he places his emphasis on that which we are to do, but in a way that reminds us as well that it is God who gives the fruit. The farmer does not produce grain. He sows grain, he tends the field, and he harvests the grain which God gives.”
This is the key. We sow in faith but God is the ultimate producer of the harvest. We sow, God grows. Period. And while it’s important to sow good seeds in our day to day business activities, the most important seeds we will ever sow are in eternity.