Growing on to Maturity

This year, two things went terribly wrong with many crops:  a late freeze followed by a drought.  Two extremes, about as far apart as can be imagined, had the same effect–little or no “fruit.”  The first event explains why my family had ONE–yes, one–apple on our tree, and only five peaches.  We had even tried to protect the branches.  We divided up our one apple and each ate a couple slices.  Throughout the summer, the drought decimated farm crops in this area.  Corn and soybean yields in other parts of the country fared even worse.  It is not hard to make several important connections between these situations and our own lives.

The Good Side of Sowing and Reaping

In Scripture, Jesus sometimes used the cycle of sowing, cultivating, and harvesting to illustrate Biblical principles.  The apostles carried this on through the Holy Spirit’s inspiration.  I love the twin promises in Galatians 6:7-10.  There is a promise that warns and there is a promise that encourages.  Sometimes we focus only on the warning–“the one who sows to his own flesh will reap corruption . . .”  There truly does need to be meditation on and application of that principle.  There is a positive promise, as well:  ” . . . but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”  Also, “. . . for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

So, How Do We Get There from Here?

Let me assure you, no one is contemplating giving up!  We’ve only been in school for a brief and exciting three weeks, for goodness sake.  But, what do we all need to be doing now so that at the end of this year’s (or many years’) work, we will all be able to harvest good things?  Here are several key factors:

  1. Teach and live out the gospel.  Make sure what’s on the inside is capable of producing good fruit.  Jesus said in Luke 6:45, “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.”  None of us is good before God.  Everyone must receive a new nature, a new heart, through “repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21)
  2. Sow to the Spirit and walk by the Spirit every day through prayer and through learning and obeying God’s revealed will in the Scriptures.  Neglect of this, and neglect of regular fellowship with a local, Bible-believing church, is a self-imposed drought.
  3. Establish good patterns of responsibility, hard work, striving for goals, and love for others among our children. It is said that practice makes permanent, so help them practice good habits.
  4. Do the right thing because it is right, even if the good results we hope for are not yet in sight.
  5. Cultivate thankfulness by leading our children to think on it and express it.
  6. Communicate with the appropriate persons in a Biblical and timely fashion to address problems.  Gossip is a “late freeze” that kills fruit before it has hardly even begun to grow!

Let’s look forward with joy together to each harvest!

Jonathan Lambeth