"Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.[1]

--1 John 4:35 (NASB)

The White Fields at Night

By Don Meadows

The bright sunlit days of November and the mild (60s) temperatures wouldn’t leave me alone.  I looked out upon the Back 40 (actually 30’X30’), and my heart started to pound.

Stubble from this summer’s garden stared me in the face; weeds had started popping their ugly heads above the ground.  “Might as well do some work,” I told Janet.

It took a fresh-filling of gasoline, a bit of starter fluid (no use pulling something out of place when pulling the start cord) and several yanks and the old Green Thumb front-tine engine came to life.  I started work.

That’s when I began wondering:  Am I finishing this year’s gardening or starting next year’s?  It’s an interesting question.  About that time, the Lord began to talk.  Oh, I didn’t hear him audibly, but he spoke, nevertheless.

“You’re doing both, Don. Learn a lesson.  You’re doing both!”

I thought about that for a while; then I understood.  I was putting to rest what had been done; I was preparing for what was yet to be done.

Soil, I am told, needs rest, too.  As the tines turned and dirt kicked up and a few earthworms came to the surface, it was almost like I was putting a blanket over the ground.  Have a good rest, friends, you deserve it.  You gave more than 50 quarts of green beans, a few tomatoes, a bunch of green peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, corn and potatoes.  You earned a rest.

I hoped that uprooting the weeds would help come spring. Up a row, down a side and along the little plot I worked...  Rocks were kicked out of their hiding places; there were not as many as last year or this spring, nor as large.  Before I knew it, darkness had fallen; but I kept on working.  God kept on speaking.

“What are you doing, Don?” he asked.

“Just tilling, Lord.  Just tilling.  I want to finish this before really cold weather sets in, or snow flies.”

“Look at the dirt,” he said.  “What do you see?”

“I see black dirt, that I’ve just turned, and I see lighter colored dirt that has yet to be broken, Lord.”  The different shades were made possible by the full moon.

“Go where it’s light, Don.  Finish the job.  The field is white!”

I’ll turn the soil at least one more time before spring.  I’ll toss a bit of fertilizer on it first and let it lay awhile so rain or snow or both will soak it into the ground.  Then, on a mild day next year, I’ll drag the tiller out and do it all again.

“What have you learned, Don?”  the Lord asked.

“O, Lord, Thou knowest!” I said.  “I learned that there is no end to working Your fields.  There is a time for clearing away obstructions, a time for feeding, a time for breaking up and a time planting.  There is a time for doing the work of caring and protecting.  There is a time for claiming the harvest.

“Lord, I am not speaking about this plot of dirt.  I see that You’re talking to me about people – your people.  You’re reminding me, aren’t You, Lord, what You told the disciples: ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.’?”[2]

Finally, about 7:30, the tines clawed at the last of the unbroken ground.  It was done.  I dragged the tiller to the outbuilding, locked things securly and went inside for supper (or dinner, depending on where you were raised.

I thought of Nathan Reincheld, in Kenya with African Inland Mission.  I remembered Steve Telfer, in Lancaster with Youth for Christ and in the Juvenile Corrections Center.  Pastors I have known all my life coursed through my mind.  So many who have worked and are working to win folks to the Lord Jesus Christ.

And my own ministry, even though I might say I am retired, is not over.  I must till, I must work in the fields where sent by God to prepare for or take in the harvest.

So must you!


[1] New American Standard Bible, The Lockman Foundation, electronic edition

[2] Luke 10:2, NASB, The Lockman Foundation, electronic edition.

 
 

God  Working

With Me In Season

My garden Feb. 11, 2012

8And others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. 9He who has ears, let him hear.” --  Matthew 13:8-9 (NASB)

By Don Meadows

It's kind of a dreary picture isn't it, the one above? But don't be misled.

God and I are working together to make good soil so that, when the seeds fall, a good harvest will result. I do not believe that Jesus, in the telling the parable of Good and Bad Soil in Matthew 13, meant that a landowner should leave the dirt in the condition  he found it. We have a responsibility, do we not, to improve what God has given to us so that it is more productive for His sake?

This picture, of course, shows my garden. I took it standing in the doorway on February 11, 2012 about noon; the wind was blowing and the thermometer said the outside temperature was about 24°F.

There is more to this picture than is obvious to the eye. It shows God and me working together.

The evening before I scattered about 50 pounds of lime on the garden. Tiny flakes of the snow were beginning to fall. Someone told me once that snow will put nitrogen into the ground when it melts. I reasoned that lime on top of my garden would be driven downward, too, and raise the pH level of the dirt.

When spring comes, and I get out my Green Thumb tiller, I will churn up the dirt and have a fertile soil ready for planting good seed.

I believe that we as Christians must apply this type of reasoning to our evangelism efforts. We need to prepare others for receiving the seeds of truth. This means breaking fallow ground and sweetening it so that, when the seeds of the Gospel fall, they will take root and produce a harvest.

I have been working this little patch of ground for three years. Each winter, especially when the temperatures turn warm and the sun shines brightly, I get that itch to get my hands dirty. The wait is humbling. I must let God do His work while I plan my work. I am tempted to rush ahead, but that would only prove futile. Thus, I wait.

Another thing that I do is lose sight of ownership. I really do not own the land, though there is a deed which says I do. I didn't produce the seed which will be planted, though I may purchase it.  All of that is God's handiwork; it's His blessing on me to permit the use of it.

Dear Christian brother and sister, it is wonderful to anticipate and plan for the coming planting season. It's good, too, to anticipate the winning of souls to God's kingdom. Prepare both fields; do your job and give God time to do His job whether in the dirt or in the hearts of people.

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An Invitation to You

NOTE:  Has God spoken to you in a special way through nature?  Please share.  Send us an e-mail, with a picture attachment to illustrate.  We'll post suitable "parables" and give you credit for it.  We reserve the right to edit, to fit in available space and to be consistent with our theological convictions.

dcmead@frontier.com

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