I’ve always loved the fall. Harvest season, autumn; our transition from the heat of summer towards the cool tranquility of winter. Autumn is a bold reminder of an axiom of life–we reap what we sow! This is the law of Harvest. No crop will emerge to be harvested without their first being seeds sown; conversely, whatever we sow in life will inevitably produce something, sometimes good and sometimes not so much.
Age has taught me a wonderful lesson about “harvesting” having spent so many years working in the human services field. When I was younger, I would get very frustrated that the kids or families I worked with did not seem to “produce” something positive, at least not quickly. The Sowing-Reaping phenomena is truly a process of time. Patience is necessary. One cannot reap immediately after one has sown. In the natural world, it takes labor and concerted effort to plant, it takes watering, maintenance and tending to, and it takes time to mature and develop before harvesting can occur. Plus, there is labor and effort involved in producing the harvest as well.
Anticipating a “Harvest of Changed Lives” is no different. Unfortunately, it is very easy to lose sight of the desired outcome if we fail to temper our impetuousness with patience, persistence and, especially, hopefulness. I have been greatly surprised, and greatly blessed, to see former clients return as “changed” individuals, acknowledging that our work (seed planting) made a difference to them. For some, it has taken decades; for others it has come more quickly; the point is–the seeds of change and hope that were planted finally came to fruition in their due season! But be mindful, there is always the possibility that you will not see the fruit of your sowing, so we must trust that the law of sowing-reaping will still be in play.
For many years, I have embraced the words of Robert Louis Stevenson, “Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” I believe, we should never be focusing on the Harvest, but on the process of producing a bountiful Harvest–sowing. I am unaware of its origin, but I love the statement, “What you sow into the lives of others is the harvest you will reap tomorrow.” Remember, sowing must be a conscientious activity if we want a positive outcome. For instance, in our daily conversations, do we sow hope or do we sow despair? Do we sow respect or do we sow disdain and prejudice? Do we sow the seeds of love or do we sow the seeds of anger and hostility? Too often we forget that we are constantly sowing, planting into the lives of others! This is not inconsequential.
It is easy to become frustrated when we are not seeing the flowers, fruit or joy we want–when in fact, we have not sown the seeds thereof! Another way of putting it is one of my favorite Proverbs, “Sluggards do not plow in season; so at harvest time they look but find nothing.” Planting good seed takes effort and work. If you want flowers you plant flowers. Likewise, if you want others to be kind, plant kindness. Hopeful? Plant hope. When we understand the law of sowing and reaping, it helps us to build a discipline and good habits. The farmer may not enjoy getting up at the crack of dawn or earlier, to prepare and plant his fields, but he certainly does enjoy the harvest he reaps at the end of the growing season. Unfortunately, with regard to personal relationships and every day living, it’s easy to become a “sluggard” who reaps undesirable consequences, maybe never realizing why! Again quoting Robert Louis Stevenson, “Sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences!”
“Summer rushes in on the heels of spring, eager to take her turn; and then she dances with wild abandon. But the time soon comes when she gratefully falls, exhausted and sated, into the auburn arms of autumn.” -Author, Cristen Rodgers
Wow, isn’t that a beautiful statement telling us that Autumn, the Harvest Season, also serves as a reminder that there needs to be a time to cease our labors and enjoy the fruits thereof. There must be a season of celebration while winding down from the exhaustion of summer. How sad it would be to have nothing to celebrate, nothing to show for one’s efforts and labors. Or worst yet, a continual season of fruitless endeavor!
Certainly, the four seasons provide for us a pattern of how we should live our lives, to be healthy and the most productive. In Spring, we see the emergence of new growth, life and an awakening opportunity to begin sowing, a new and fresh with eager anticipation. Summer is a time of heat, labor, striving and tending to the growth of what we have sown. Fall brings change signifying the season of labor is coming to an end, commencing the joy and celebration of the Harvest. Winter is a time of deep rest and rejuvenation, enjoying the fruits of our labor knowing that the cycle will soon begin again. This is how I believe we should live – not in a continual frenzy of exhaustive labor.
Every person will have their own Harvest, the law of sowing-reaping never ceases. Those who have sown good seed, will reap good things; those who have sown bad seed will reap a harvest of despair, discouragement or disappointment. I have heard it said, “You reap what you sow: Life is like a boomerang. Our thoughts, deeds and words return to us sooner or later, with astounding accuracy.” It is incumbent upon each of us to be diligent in what we are sowing, remembering with every deed you are sowing a seed, though the Harvest you may not see. The greatest fruit of Harvest we can experience is knowing in our hearts that we have done the very best we can in sowing light, life and hope in a world so shrouded in darkness and despair!