5 Gardening Tips for Kingdom Harvest
This summer has been my first foray into gardening. I cannot say I have enjoyed the process, however I have enjoyed the harvest. In fact, this little adventure has become a continuous reminder of this spiritual truth: when you plant, you will reap!
Having only planted a salsa garden for this test run, at the present time I am overwhelmed with tomatoes, peppers and onions. Every other day I pick a box full each. It seems the more I harvest, the more I reflect on this truth.
Here’s a breakdown of 5 gardening tips for Kingdom harvest!
1. A Detached Branch Withers
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned” (John 15:5-6).
This is a simple truth, if you want fruit, keep the branches attached to the source of life. In the natural everything comes through the plant… all nutrients, the water, even the stability of the branch... it all comes from being attached to the life-giving, life-sustaining source. The same is true for believers. To produce we must be connected to the origin and sustainer of life. It is the only means for fruit in the kingdom of God.
You cannot produce on your own, you must be immersed in a relationship with the Lord, letting His life-giving, life-sustaining truth change you from the inside out. Being connected to the source will always yield a harvest. It comes as a byproduct of relationship with Him.
2. If You Plant Corn Don’t Expect Squash
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction: the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:7-10).
I have never once been surprised at what is growing in my garden. Each day I find the exact same things that were planted earlier in the season. I have however, been surprised in life by the things I’ve found there. This is because I’ve planted corn expecting squash!
If we sow to the flesh, even good things done apart from the vine, thinking that they are done for the vine, then our harvest is reaped from what was sown, not from good intention.
For example, in the past I wore myself out serving in the church in absolutely every capacity that was needed. Most things I didn’t enjoy because I was not gifted or called in these areas, there was a need so I served, thinking I was serving the Lord. The harvest I reaped from this was exhaustion, frustration, resentment, bitterness, discouragement… the list goes on. The ministries were all good things, they were all needed in the body of Christ. However I was trying to produce fruit out of the flesh. And this is exactly the harvest that was reaped. Remember, from the flesh we reap destruction.
However, if you sow to the Spirit, then this is the fruit you can expect to be evident in your life... “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
3. The Harvest Proves You’re A Farmer
Jesus said in John, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John 15:8).
God doesn’t just want you to bear fruit, He wants you to bear His fruit! This fruit comes from being attached to the source, developed out of a relationship with Him (Gardening Tip #1). And you can expect this fruit to have His signature on it (Gardening Tip #2). Amazingly, it also proves that you are His disciple and it continually brings Him glory.
Paul's prayer for the church in Thessalonica is a great example of how this works. He prayed, “We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Thessalonians 1:2-3). The work they were doing was an outgrowth of faith and they labored in love. The fruit in that church came from deep conviction (vs.5) even in the midst of intense suffering (vs. 5). The work they did brought glory to God, Paul wrote, “your faith in God has become known everywhere” (vs. 8b). They were reaping a kingdom harvest because they were 100% sold out to God and God used them mightily, we are still talking about their faith!
4. Sometimes Perseverance Is Needed
“But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop” (Luke 8:15).
The sweetest fruit comes at the end of the season. Sometimes the road is long and the journey hard but we are promised a good return if we do not give up. Perseverance can carry you through until you see the finished work. Jesus is the best example of this. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:2-3).
If you get discouraged, if it doesn’t seem like your work produced by faith and your labor prompted by love makes any difference then consider Jesus, fix your eyes on Jesus and do not lose heart. You will reap a harvest if you do not give up (Galatians 6:9).
5. Kingdom Fruit Lasts
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit - fruit that will last” (John 15:16a).
The reason Jesus wants you to bear His fruit is because Kingdom fruit lasts for eternity. In the end this is the only thing that matters. It’s not what you can do for God, but what God has done through you because you were attached to the source, bearing His fruit. He wants to give birth to something eternal in your life, He wants it to count and last forever. Your responsibility is to be willing, ready and usable. He chose you and He will use you for His Kingdom and His Glory!