Every fortnight people from a farming background, or who have a heart for the countryside, offer a personal reflection on faith and rural life. They hope that you will be encouraged by it.
As we enter another harvest season, this can be a time of year when a farmer can find great fulfilment. Crops, which may have been planted last autumn or spring, and with a lot of work planting, spraying and patience - are now ready for harvest. Provided weather prevails, it can be highly fulfilling to reap the harvest after months of watching the crop grow and develop from a seed until ripened.
However, each year we can neglect the fact that in springtime and harvest, God has provided this fulfilment through the changing of the seasons in His almighty creation. The Bible also illustrates the fulfilment of harvest in the parable of the four soils. “‘But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil; produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown’” (Matthew 13:23). Yet God has provided even greater fulfilment in the message of the gospel.
In the busy life of the farm, whenever the crops are gathered, planning must commence for the next year, whether that’s rotating crops, or cultivating soils in preparation for planting. In farming you are constantly looking to the future and rarely can you take time to stop and reflect on the achievements of the previous farming year.
With God we don’t have to worry about the next harvest, rather we can look ahead with the peace and comfort He gives us through His son Jesus Christ. In John’s Gospel, Jesus describes how Peter would be crucified for his faith but despite what the future held, Jesus told Peter to follow Him.
Although we may be uncertain of the future and whether next year can provide us with as good a harvest as this year, we can confidently follow Christ and know God is in control.
God gives us assurance of eternal life through His son Jesus. In Matthew 19 where Jesus speaks to the rich young man, He points out that salvation does not come from good deeds, but rather by love for God. The man needed a whole new starting point. Rather than adding another commandment to keep or good deed to perform, he needed to submit himself humbly to Christ as Lord.
As the farmer steps up into the combine hoping it will fulfil its purpose, we too have a reason for living. God made us so that He might pour His love upon us, and that we may enjoy it forever. The Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:4-7, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy; has raised us up… In order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”
During this harvest time we can remember then that only God, through the Lord Jesus Christ, can provide us with true fulfilment. Jesus rose again, having finished the work on the cross, suffering for our sins. Now, He is able to lead you into eternal rest with God, if you are willing to confess your sins and rest in Him alone as your Lord and Saviour.
Richard Gibson is a recent agriculture graduate from Queen’s and has spent many years working on various types of farms. Richard currently works with dairy farmers on a daily basis as a farm liaison officer with one of Ireland’s leading agri-food co-operatives. He lives in Beragh in Co Tyrone.
If you would like to talk to someone about any of the issues raised in this article, please email Rev. Kenny Hanna at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him on 028 9753 1234.