Servants of God,
“The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing.”
It is planting time. So, you think I’m out of touch with the growing cycle? Maybe a tad early? Well, rest assured, I’m talking about planting spiritual seed. Now is the time to be teaching and modeling and speaking truth into the lives of others—especially children who are in your circle of influence.
As schools start back into session and as Summer winds down, we know that the seasons are about to change. Labor Day will come, the temperatures will drop, and we will turn our thoughts to Autumn. When I was a teen working for Mr. Earl Simmons, I sometimes helped plant wheat. He had a saying: “September for pasture; October for wheat.” By that he was articulating the accumulated wisdom of wheat farmers who also often pastured cattle on some of their wheat ground. If you intend to have cattle grazing on the winter wheat, you had better plant earlier.
The Bible also speaks of Autumn as a time of planting (plowing). Barley and wheat were planted in the Autumn and harvested in the Spring. The barley ripened first and was offered during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. The Festival of Pentecost occurred later, near the end of the grain harvest.
There is a spiritual parallel. If you want a harvest celebration, you had better plant at the appropriate time. That sort of fact seems axiomatic, but sloth and a lack of attention to appropriate detail always get exposed in a later season. The problem is, that planting seems rather dull and mundane compared to harvest. Planting is a chore; harvest is joyful! The fact remains, however, that without the hard and often boring and unspectacular labor of preparing and planting, there will be no harvest.
American Christians have fallen prey to the bigger-is-better and louder-is-prouder mindset of the culture around us. We must not be duped by the shallow and ill-timed virtue signaling and self-congratulating spirit of our age. We must believe God. God urges us to sow the gospel seed and he warns us about the emptiness of sloth and procrastination. Today is the day to act to spread the gospel and to speak about the glory of God the same way that Autumn is the time to plant barley or wheat—if you want a harvest.
Parents who think their kids will grow up to be responsible adults just because they have great parents better be warned. If you take the sluggard’s approach and do not plant God’s word into the heart of a child every possible way imaginable, don’t be surprised when harvest time is less than joyful. Of course, it means we must work to read the Bible to them. It means you must get around earlier on Sunday morning if they are to attend Sunday School. Getting kids to Awana or youth activities means you are usually inconvenienced. Plowing and preparing always lack the excitement of harvest, but you won’t get much of a harvest of righteousness if you don’t plant in the “autumn” of life.
We are always planting, and we always reap. We reap what we sow. We reap more than we sow. And we always reap in a later season than we sow—but we will reap. Praise God we can all begin today: Right here; right now. It’s planting time and the harvest is coming. Sow the gospel seed!