Awaiting Harvest Season: Conditional Cultivation Required
Have you ever just wanted to give up on what you are trying to accomplish? I am not talking about something you want to accomplish in your own strength or for your own agenda and selfish motives (we all have those things). I am talking about giving up on something that God specifically told you to do. I am referring to wanting to say, “I’ve had it God, and I’m not doing this anymore.” Even when you know that you know that you know He told you to accomplish that thing for His glory.
If you have ever been at that point, then I am sure, like me, you have asked God questions such as:
“Why do I even bother doing this when no one seems to care?”
“Is this really worth the trouble I’m experiencing?”
“Did I hear you correctly when you told me to start this business
(or church, or ministry, or project)?”
“If this is really You, God, then why do I keep getting hurt?”
John Wesley said, “Do all the good you can, in all the ways you can, to all the souls you can, in every place you can, at all the times you can, with all the zeal you can, as long as ever you can.” These are such beautiful words by which to live our lives, but is it possible? The short answer is “yes”.
I know you have heard the saying “You reap what you sow.” The Bible is noticeably clear about it as well. In Galatians 6:7-10, it says, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (ESV)
In this passage, Paul was reminding the Christians in Galatia not to focus on fulfilling the desires of their flesh, but to choose instead to nurture their Spirit.
I was having a conversation with my father recently, and he pointed out an observation that brought everything full circle for me. We were talking about due season, and how in the natural world, certain crops and flowers are planted at specific times of the year. This happens because there is a particular season that the harvest of those crops and the sprouting of those flowers will occur. That harvest and sprouting occurs in their due season. But, for the crops to yield a harvest and the flowers to spring forth, the planter is consistently cultivating the ground. The ground is cultivated and prepared before the seed is planted, then once the seed is in the ground, it is not left unattended. The planter continues to cultivate the awaited harvest.
My father made this remark,
“Before one can receive a harvest, they must continue working and cultivating what has been placed in their hands. There is a condition to receiving the harvest, and that condition is cultivation. It’s called conditional cultivation.”
So, can we look again that that thing (or those things) we are ready to give up on that we know God has called us to do? In Galatians 6:9, when Paul says, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” He is saying that the condition that rests in our hands to reach our due season and receive our harvest is that we continue to do good and not get tired of it. The condition is that we do not give up… do not throw in the towel, do not turn our back on what God told us to do. Even when people hurt us, even when the support seems to be lacking, even when we cannot see the point in continuing.
Keep cultivating the ground of your heart, so it will be ready to receive the seed God desires to plant. Once that seed is planted, keep cultivating the ground that is nurturing your seed by feeding it good things, watering it with Godly things, and shining light on it with the Word of God. And in your due season… the moment when God says, “Now is the time for you to see the fruit from your labor and cultivation.” … your harvest will burst forth, yielding more than you could have imagined you would receive.