Most people in rural Oklahoma understand gardening. In fact, most begin to prepare the soil for planting in late winter and early spring. Even if it is only a few tomato plants, we understand the laws of sowing and reaping. The natural laws of nature are representative of the spiritual laws. The Apostle Paul stated it this way: "First the natural and then the spiritual."(I Cor. 15:46) If we are able to grasp in the natural the concepts of sowing and reaping, we will also understand them in the spiritual.
The first Law of the Harvest is: You Reap What You Sow. In other words, if you plant corn seed you will most assuredly reap a corn stalk breaking forth from the earth. You will not plant a corn seed and see bean sprouts coming up from the corn seed you planted. That is the natural law. The spiritual laws follows: "The one who sows to his won flesh will from the flesh reaps corruption." This is unavoidable. If you sow seeds of anger and rage, anger and rage will be produced in the hearts and lives of those in which you sowed the angry words and actions. You cannot sow anger and expect happiness to miraculously be produced instead. The good news, however, is that we get to choose the seed we sow and thus determine the harvest. Sowing to the flesh reaps corruption, but sowing in the Spirit will reap life eternal. We are the gardeners of our souls and the souls of our children.
The second Law of the Harvest is: The Law of Nurture. As a corn seed is planted, consideration must be made into the condition of the soil, the availability of water and the correct amount of sunshine. All these elements combine to nurture the seed and bring it into maturity and fruition. When any of the three are out of balance the harvest will be compromised.
Jesus said in the parable of the sower and the seed (Mark 4) that the seed (the Word of God) that is sown into "good" ground, such as hear the word and receive it, bring forth fruit, some thirty fold, some sixty fold and some an hundred." As we sow the seed of the Word of God into the soil of hungry hearts, we are then required to be diligent to water it with our prayers and release the sunshine of the Power of the Holy Spirit to stir live in the seed and cause it to bring forth after it's kind.
The third Law of the Harvest is: The Law of Germination. The gardener does not plant the corn seed and then dig it up the next day to see if it has sprouted. If he does that the seed is destroyed. He understands the law of germination. He will sow the seed, but he will reap later than he sows. It is the law of germination that often trips both the sinner and the saint. The sinner, not understanding that the goodness of God is long-suffering and patient, interprets the lack of immediate retribution of wickedness as licence. Because his sinful actions are not immediately judged by God he carries on with his nefarious ways until the crop sprouts and the seeds sown began to be manifested in his life and the life of his children.
Likewise, the saint may grow weary in well doing and abort the harvest of righteousness that is soon to be revealed. Perhaps the seed just needs a little more water (prayer) to push itself from the dark soil, but the spiritual gardener faints in there responsibility because of the length of the germination season and they leave the garden plot disappointed that they never saw the fruit of their labor. The Word of God cannot be rushed; "YOU WILL REAP, IN DUE SEASON."
The fourth is the Law of Multiplication: You will reap MORE than you sow. The backyard farmer knows that the single corn seed will bear one stalk, but on the stalk will be multiple ears of corn and every ear of corn will contain HUNDREDS of more corn seeds. The same bears true for the seed we sow in the spirit; both for good or for evil. I personally know a man that sowed into pornography for years. He viewed this transgression as a "victimless" sin. Years later his only son was charged with sexually molesting a minor. The young man was the father's garden that produced a harvest that was multiplied many times over the seed the father planted in immorality. On the contrary, the righteous seed will also be multiplied.
“You can count the apples on the tree, but who can count the apples in a seed?” goes the old aphorism.
So it is with the influence of a single person.
Take Edward Kimball, for an example. Never heard of him? You’re not unique in that sense. Most people have never heard of him.
Kimball was a Sunday school teacher who not only prayed for the often rowdy boys in his class but also sought to win each one to the Lord. If Kimball ever felt like giving up, he never talked about it. If you have ever taught the Bible to young boys, you know that the experience can often be like herding cats.
One young man, in particular, didn't seem to understand what the gospel was about so Kimball went to the shoe store where he was stocking shelves and confronted him in the stock room with the importance of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That young man was Dwight L. Moody. In the stockroom on that Saturday, he received Jesus Christ as his Savior. In his lifetime, Moody touched two continents for God, with untold thousands coming to faith in Jesus Christ.
But the story doesn't end there. Actually that’s where it begins. Under Moody, another man’s heart was touched for God, Wilbur Chapman. Chapman became the evangelist who preached to thousands. One day, a professional ball player had a day off and attended one of Chapman’s meetings, and thus, Billy Sunday was converted.
Sunday quit baseball and became part of Chapman’s team. Then, Chapman accepted the pastorate of a large church and Billy Sunday began his own evangelistic crusades.
Another young man was converted whose name was Mordecai Ham. He was a scholarly, dignified gentleman who wasn't above renting a hearse and parading it through the streets advertising his meetings.
When Ham came to Charlotte, North Carolina, a sandy-haired, lanky young man, then in high school, vowed that he wouldn't go hear him preach, but Billy Frank, as he was called by his family, did eventually go. Ham announced that he knew for a fact that a house of ill repute was located across the street from the local high school and that male students were skipping lunch to visit the house across the street. When students decided to go to interrupt the meetings of Mordecai Ham, Billy Frank decided to go see what would happen.
That night Billy Frank went and was intrigued by what he heard. Returning another night, he responded to the invitation and was converted. Billy Frank eventually became known as Billy Graham, the evangelist who preached to more people than any other person who has ever lived.
This fascinating chain of events was triggered by a Sunday school teacher’s concern for his boys. If you are like most people, you have served in some capacity and wondered at times if you were making a real difference or not. Maybe you’ve thought about quitting because you didn’t think you were making any difference.
Next time you are tempted to give up, please remember Edward Kimball, whose persistence and faithfulness was tremendously honored by the Lord. The story would have looked very differently if Edward Kimball did not take his Saturday to seek out young Dwight Moody.
You can count the apples on a tree, but only God knows how many apples are in a single seed.
Do your part today in the Kingdom and trust God for the results. Remembering that we reap what we sow, we reap later than we sow and we reap more than we sow: The Laws of Harvest.