A Glimpse of the Harvest

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

Be strong and steady, always enthusiastic about the Lord’s work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.  –1 Corinthians 15:58 NLT

It was my first time teaching Good News Club, and I was so scared, my hands shook—surprising for someone who’d spent years as a teacher.

But this was different. This was teaching more than grammar, composition, and reading. This was teaching God’s Word and telling 25 boys and girls from my children’s elementary school about Jesus. This had eternal consequences.

Woven into the Bible lesson was the GOSPEL: God loves you, so He sent His Only begotten Son to take away your Sin by shedding His Precious blood on the cross so you can have Eternal life. Won’t you Let Him be your Savior and Lord?

This was the most important part of the lesson, the reason why I hosted and taught this weekly Bible club in my home after school. God had transformed my life, and I wanted to tell these young people about Him so they could get started on the journey of faith sooner than I did.

At the end of the lesson, I asked the children to close their eyes and bow their heads. Then, to make sure I didn’t forget anything, I read from index cards.

“If you prayed this prayer and asked Jesus into your heart, will you please raise your hand?”

I was astounded. Nearly every hand was raised! Later, I drew a heart beside those names on my prayer list.

Years passed. My children moved on to high school, and I returned to teaching English. A friend took over the club.

Occasionally I’d take out the tattered prayer list and wonder what happened to those children. Two met untimely deaths in their teens. I checked the list: beside their names, a heart. I had no idea where the others were in their relationship with God. I knew how powerful the lure of the world is.

One morning 23 years after I taught that club, I drew my daily Bible verse out of my basket of verses: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously (2 Corinthians 9:6).

“Lord,” I whispered, “I’ve poured my heart and soul into so much for You. I’ve planted generously, yet I see so little in the way of results.”

The next day I attended a prayer breakfast for the National Day of Prayer. Afterward a man approached me.

“Do you remember me?”

His face was familiar. I glanced at his nametag and smiled.  He’d been in that Good News Club. “Of course I do.”

“I’ve been wanting to contact you,” he said. “I’m a youth pastor. You gave me a Bible. You planted the seed.”

It’s hard being a seed planter because you rarely get to see the harvest. Well, God showed me this harvest and reminded me that my labor for Him is never in vain. Only in eternity will we see the true harvest.

Until then, with God’s help, I’ll keep on planting!

Dear God, sometimes You just blow me away! You knew I needed that glimpse of the harvest. Thank you. Amen.

More tea: Read and meditate on 2 Corinthians 9:6–15.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea, 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. Used with permission.

Soil Toil

Image by mwahl from Pixabay

Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts. –Psalm 95:7–8 NIV

Every year when it’s time to plant our garden, my husband works hard to prepare the soil for the seeds.

First he plows, turning the hardened earth over and under. Then he tills it, breaking up tough clumps of sod and removing the rocks that rise to the surface with the churning—and there are buckets full still, after forty years. Then he works lime and fertilizer in the loose soil with the tiller—and, of course, removes more rocks.

Only when the soil is loose and porous, and boosted with nutrients necessary for plant growth does he drop in the seeds.

Even then his soil toil is far from over. Throughout the growing season, he must keep working it, tilling it to keep it loose and soft, plucking those endless rocks, pulling weeds, and periodically adding more lime and fertilizer.

After every hard rain, the soil hardens again, more rocks appear, and he must hoe around the growing plants so the nutrients they need to grow could filter through to the roots. And, of course, pick rocks.

Even after the harvest the work isn’t done. Plowing the whole thing under allows the decaying plants to add more nutrients to the soil over the winter.

Then, the following spring, he starts all over. The ground always needs work.

Just like our souls. We need a lot of work, too—over and over. The work is never done on this earth.

It all starts with a hardened heart that cannot accept the seed. To get our attention, God often turns our lives upside-down, breaking up tough clumps of stubbornness and rebellion. Then, to soften our hearts even more, He keeps things churned up until we are submissive and workable. Rocks of selfishness and willfulness, which crop up daily, must be removed. Storms of life also tend to bring them to the surface.

But the seed needs nutrition to grow, and too many idle years result in a depleted soul, fallow and barren. To remedy this, the lime of prayer and the fertilizer of fellowship with more mature Christians must be applied—by the bagful.

But we’re not ready to produce a harvest yet, are we? Those weeds of worldliness must be carefully twisted out of our hearts, where their roots reach deep, leeching the nutrients and choking the tendrils of spiritual life.

Only after all this toil—plowing, tilling, hoeing, rock plucking, fertilizing, watering, weeding—can our soil-soul support growth and eventually produce a harvest.

But there is never, really, any one type of soil, is there? Perhaps that’s why I’ve always had trouble answering the question, “What kind of soil are you?”

I am not one type of soil, you see. I am all of them.

Dear God, thank You that soil can be changed. Thank You for changing me—little by little, rock by rock, weed by weed. Amen.

Read and reflect on Matthew 13:3–9, 18–23.

From God, Me, and a Cup of Tea, Vol. 3, © 2019 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Contact me @ michelethuey@gmail.com if you wish to use this.