Reaping A Harvest
By Kim Butts
"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up" (Gal. 6:9).
What an amazing time we live in! Much of the Lord’s harvest is ripe and ready all around us and across the globe! At the same time, there are still fields that need to be sown, watered and fertilized before the harvest can be reaped! By faithfully doing good we can join the Father’s work of drawing all men to Himself. Wondrously, the best good the Lord has given us to do for anyone allows us to participate in the harvest at every level – prayer! We can pray for the lost in our own families, our neighborhoods, at school or work, and in unreached people groups living in nations that we may never have the opportunity to get into any other way! We are also privileged and commissioned to pray for all believers, whatever their needs or situations so that their lives will bring honor and glory to the Father. First Timothy 2:1-4 states that we are to pray for everyone, because this is good and pleases God, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
One important thing to consider as your family prays for the harvesting of souls is that God may call one or all of you to be the answer to the prayers you pray. That’s right! When we pray, we should always be prepared for the Lord to use us to do good in someone else’s life. Make it a practice in the prayer life of your family to keep Bibles, pencils and paper at hand. Following prayer for each situation, person, nation, etc., ask the question: "Lord, how do you want to use us to be the answer to this prayer?" For example, you might be praying for the salvation of a family in your neighborhood. Stop and ask the Lord how He wants to use you to draw them into His kingdom. Ask each family member to listen carefully to see what the Lord might say to his or her heart. Perhaps one of your children might say, "I think God wants us to invite them over for dinner" or "My heart says we need to offer to help them build their fence." Isn’t our Lord amazing? If we will allow it and be good listeners, He will show us how to be the answer to our own prayer by giving us the next step…in this case, doing good for the neighbors. And, as we are obedient listeners and do-ers, and if we do not get tired and give up…lost people will begin to see the light of Jesus shining so brightly in us that they will want to know more about Him.
Let’s take a closer look at Galatians 6:9 to see what the Father may want to teach us about reaping a harvest for the glory of His Kingdom:
"Let us not become weary..."
Sometimes we forget that God’s timing isn’t always the same as our own. Some of the answers to our prayers will not be known for days…or weeks…or years…or even until we see Him face to face in heaven. When we become weary or discouraged, the Lord is there to lift us up and sustain us. Consider these passages as you pray for renewed strength:
1. The suffering of Jesus will give us hope. "Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart" (Heb. 12:3). We will never suffer as our Lord did, so when we endure for the sake of His Gospel message, we should be filled with hope that "The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it" (1 Thes. 5:24). He is the completer of every act of kindness. He is the fulfiller of every prayer.
2. The Lord and His Word will give us strength. "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint" (Isa. 40:29-31). "My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to Your Word" (Psa. 119:28). When you feel weary and weak, go to His Word and soak in it. When we are weakest, He can make us strong (2 Cor. 12:10). Learn to pray His Word as you pray for lost people.
3. God promises to refresh, renew, sustain, and carry our burdens. The Lord has promised to "refresh the weary and satisfy the faint" (Jer. 31:25). "Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light" (Matt. 11:28-30). Give lost people to the Father. Remember, it is His Spirit that draws the lost as you pray. You are simply to pray and listen.
4. He will not fail us or forsake us. "David also said to Solomon his son, ‘Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished’" (1 Chr. 28:20). The Great Commission is our mission, and God is with us every step of the way!
5. Through His mercy we have this ministry. "Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart" (2 Cor. 4:1). Because all of us from youngest to oldest are called to the ministry of intercession, He will also supply the strength we need to persevere.
6. Our labor is not in vain. "Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain" (1 Cor. 15:58). "Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him" (Psa. 126:5-6). When praying for others and doing good in tangible ways for them becomes difficult, always remember that there will be much rejoicing when even one person comes to faith in Jesus! Every prayer and every loving act is significant, and you may never see or know the results of some of your planting or watering this side of heaven. You may just be preparing the soil for someone else to reap the harvest…in which case, you will one day also share in the joy of it!
"...in doing good..."
Remember, our good works do not get us to heaven! Our salvation has been bought for the price of one Man’s sacrifice. Good works are a response to the call of God to be like Jesus. Prayerfully examine these Scriptures in your life and apply them to your family:
1. The example of Jesus was doing good and we are called to be like Him! "…how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him" (Acts 10:38). "To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps" (1 Pet. 2:21).
2. It is God’s will that we do good to others. "For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men" (1 Pet. 2:15). Actions speak louder than our words. Christians should be known for their godly character as well as for the good they do. Are you known as a praying family that listens carefully to the marching orders of the Lord and obeys them?
3. Doing good to ALL people is a command. "Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture" (Psa. 37:3). "But I tell you who hear Me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you" (Luke 6:27-28). See Luke 6:35 also.
4. We were created to do good works. "For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" (Eph. 2:10).
5. There is nothing better for God’s family to do. "I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live" (Ecc. 3:12).
6. It pleases God when we do good to others. "But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God" (1 Pet. 2:20). "And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased" (Heb. 13:16).
7. The enemy will try to stop us from doing good – be aware! "So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me" (Rom. 7:21).
"...for at the proper time..."
The proper time is always up to God. "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time" (1 Tim. 2:5-6). "The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food at the proper time" (Psa. 145:15). His timing is always perfect.
"...we will reap a harvest..."
1. We must sow generously to reap generously. "Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously" (2 Cor. 9:6).
2. Praising God results in the blessing of harvest. "May the peoples praise You, O God; may all the peoples praise You. Then the land will yield its harvest, and God, our God, will bless us. God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear Him" (Psa. 67:5-7).
3. When we speak with wisdom we will reap a harvest from our words. "From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him" (Prov. 12:14). "From the fruit of his mouth a man’s stomach is filled; with the harvest from his lips he is satisfied" (Prov. 18:20). As we speak out our prayers to the Lord, heaven stirs with activity in response. Much good can also come from speaking kind words and encouragement to others.
4. We must pray and ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers (even if He wants to send us to be the answer to our prayers). "Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field’" (Matt. 9:37-38).
5. We must sow in peace. "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness" (Jas. 3:17-18).
"...if we do not give up"
1. Diligence and perseverance in our lives will lead to the salvation of others. "Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers" (1 Tim. 4:15-16).
2. We must "…keep on loving each other as brothers" (Heb. 13:1).
3. We must press on towards the goal! "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:14).
4. We must keep on praying. "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints" (Eph. 6:18).
Could your family determine that some part of every day will be dedicated to reaping a harvest? Start with prayer and see where God may lead you.