Sowing & Reaping
It is my absolute favourite time of year. I'm currently sitting on my patio, overlooking the beautiful Okanagan valley, with a gentle breeze pushing the scent of wildflowers towards me. Sipping a hot coffee, sunshine warming my bare feet, feeling peaceful and joyful. I'm doing work that I love, I'm learning more about God every day, and I'm seeing great fruitfulness in my spiritual journey. My life is not perfect, I have plenty of challenges, but I am stronger emotionally and spiritually than I have ever been. And then, God interrupted me. Does that ever happen to you? You are perfectly fine going about your day... But, God. I love those moments because I know it wasn't initiated by me, it's the God of Heaven seeking me out. He interrupted me, and He said "Sowing and reaping don't happen in the same season. Don't get so comfortable that you stop sowing, or you will have nothing to reap in your next season". Hmm. It's true, if you think about it - most crops have about 90 days between sowing and reaping. That's 3 months, long enough to forget exactly where you planted certain things. Long enough to be in a different place in life, to change your priorities and your thinking. I think this is true for our spirits too - the things that we sow into our hearts and minds, the time that we invest with the Lord, the attention we give to His presence, they have long term benefits. 3 months ago, I was taking some big risks, I was prioritizing the things God called me to, and I was spending a lot of time in the Word and in worship. Did it have immediate benefits? Yes. But I believe the effects of it were much deeper, and I'm reaping the benefit now of the investment I made months ago in intimacy with the Lord.
I think the reverse is also true. For example, if you are eating nothing but fast food and processed junk for a month, and then go back to a regular diet, you are going to see the results of that "sowing" for awhile after. You'll feel a bit better right away, but when you look in the mirror you will see the effects of that choice for a few months.
The problem is, that we have a mindset of immediate harvest. We begin to connect dots that aren't there - if you've gone back to your healthy diet but don't see immediate results, you might conclude that it doesn't matter what you put in your body. Or, if I were to now grow lazy in my spiritual life, I might think that I could do nothing but watch tv all day and still feel peace and joy, because that is my current harvest. And after a few months of that, I would start to feel depressed and discouraged, and would feel far from God. But I wouldn't connect it to what I was sowing, I would assume that something else had changed, something more immediate. But the truth is, there is no immediate harvest. We are all reaping what we sowed 3 months ago (or longer).
If we want a relationship with the Lord that is full of intimacy, that produces fruit of the Spirit, that is exciting and captivating, we must sow now. And we must sow without hinging it on immediate results. Just because you don't see dramatic improvement, doesn't mean you aren't sowing well. Let's be a people that press in with obedience for obedience' sake. Let's be a people who prioritize time with God because our future self is worth it. It takes faith to live that way, faith and perseverance. Thankfully we have a God who is willing to interrupt us, a God who sees our future and knows what we need to prepare for it here and now.
I don't think it's about minutes in the day, as much as it is about intentions and priorities. Some of you have incredibly busy lives and full families, and find it impossible to sit down for an hour of quiet time every day. I feel like God wants to free you from that burden - although it's a very good thing to do, God is not limited by that. He can meet you right where you are, He can speak to you in the midst of chaos, He can lead you in a room full of people. Take the limits off and watch what happens.
What are you harvesting right now? If it's less than what you'd like, first forgive your past self, and then thank God that He's interrupted you here. Ask Him to show you how to sow what you'll need for your next season. What are you going to need 3 months from now, where do you want to be?