This morning I culled the tops of my cilantro that have gone to seed. I dry them to make ground coriander for cooking. As I was harvesting it into a bowl on the patio table, my mind wandered. To planting seeds, cultivating, caretaking, harvesting. To the Word of God. To what Jesus said about harvests.
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 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.” Matthew 9:35-38
When I’ve considered the harvest that Jesus was talking about (folks ready to hear and believe the message of salvation), my attitude has often been one- I’m ashamed to say- of “when they bring up the subject, I’ll be glad to talk with them.” I am willing to speak with whoever will listen and tell them what a difference has been made in my life knowing Jesus. But, truthfully, I’ve not actively sought people out most of the time. Meaning, I’ve not been listening to the Holy Spirit’s invitation to speak.
Today, I realized that while most harvests from my garden require little more than plucking tomatoes or peppers off the plants; most of the garden requires work before, during and after I gather the fruit. The cilantro was a perfect example. It had grown wild and unwieldy over much of my garden.
Some of the seeds weren’t quite ready to be plucked, some were withered and brown already, and some came off the stems without any issue at all. I had pruned the stalks that were mostly ready for me to remove the seeds from and started harvesting. Most of the seeds popped right off, some were resistant. The stalks and leaf piddle sometimes fell into the bowl with the seeds. There were little spider mites who had been feasting on aphids in the garden who had hitch-hiked onto the plants.
All of these were a picture to me of what it can mean to really harvest a crop. Not everything is easy. Some crops require hard labor with machinery, some require a delicate hand and perfect timing, and still others require slow, tedious, repetitive actions to achieve the desired result.
When I share the Good News with others it helps me to remember these things. Everyone is different, unique. People require different ways of being told the Gospel of Jesus. Some need a gentle voice of encouragement, a common bond in personality- “Let me tell you how my life has changed with Jesus.” Others need a short, sweet, straight to the point: “You need Jesus.” Still others need our every day companionship to see Jesus, to pique their curiosity and then they will ask the questions that are burning in their hearts.
I’m so glad I stopped to harvest that coriander this morning. God showed me once again that everyone is different. We never know where in the process we are- planting seeds, cultivating, caretaking or harvesting.
It sounds so simplistic to relate salvation to harvesting. But that is what is happening. Harvesting of souls to eternal life in Christ. Some won’t know how much they need Jesus until we tell them how much He’s done for us. We all need Jesus.
If you’ve read this far and none of this makes much sense to you and you don’t know Jesus, know that I’m praying for you and am here to listen, and to point you to Jesus so that you may believe and know Him.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3: 16-17