Though mankind has always put a certain stock in the concept of a harvest, it’s possible that we are misunderstanding our purpose by seeing our lives as just one harvest season.
Working Toward That Harvest
I was at a Halloween party recently where I sat down with a longtime friend and had a chat about where each of us is going in our lives. As it usually does, our conversation revolved around where it is we thought God was leading us – what is our purpose; what is His big plan? Were each of us on the right path? Was it clear what that path was for either of us?
When would we arrive at that destination to which God has been moving us? When would we be ready? Were we close or way off?
During the course of our interaction, my friend and I inevitably began comparing our respective paths as a kind of “working toward that harvest” – that time when we would be right where God had intended us to be all along.
The “Harvest”: where we fulfill our respective destinies.
The Concept Of The Harvest
Likening one’s life or path to a “Harvest” is not at all new. In fact, human beings have, in one way or another, attached great worth to harvests since the dawn of the agricultural age – probably even before.
Throughout much of human history, the harvest has been a matter of life or death. A good harvest means you might make it through the winter. A bad harvest means you, and a plethora of your loved ones, probably wouldn’t.
Speaking of dark, the far-off Celtic origins of Halloween coalesced around the harvest, which also marked the beginning of a “dark” season. So, I mean… yeah, you kind of want to be able to survive that!
And, of course, Thanksgiving is the most obvious reference to the importance of the harvest in human history.
As Christians, we tend to see the Harvest as a way of explaining our eternal salvation, a concept that we see throughout some of Jesus’s parables. We plant the seeds. We labor. We toil. We rise above the challenges presented before us and, through it all – by having faith – the idea is that we are always working toward that great Harvest at the end.
If we plant those seeds… If we take care of that field… if we are faithful throughout the process…
We will be rewarded with The Harvest.
If we’re talking about the idea of Heaven and Eternity, then the analogy of The Harvest makes sense and seems to work.
But the mistake we tend to make – and we were initially making it when my friend and I were having our Halloween conversation – is that we try to make that Harvest make sense for our lifetime on earth.
Life On Earth Isn’t Just One Harvest
As my friend and I talked, the idea of the Harvest kept on coming up. We’ve planted the seeds, our talents are aligning with our passions (the key to fulfilling God’s purpose for you on earth) and we’re doing what God is telling us to do.
But that Harvest hasn’t yet come.
Or has it…?
As I look back on my life I can see many times where I planted seeds, worked hard, had faith, and saw positive results. I accomplished a feat here; took a giant leap toward helping others there.
But I’ve also seen where planting seeds and doing the work didn’t yield the kind of crop I was hoping for. I failed as a signed singer when I first moved to Nashville; I didn’t change lives with this thing over here or that thing over there like I was expecting to.
I can easily see where my life isn’t one big Harvest leading up to the “arrival” at the end. Rather, it’s a series of harvests. Maybe it’s ten. Maybe it’s fifteen. Some of those harvests have been really, really good. Some of them have been really, really difficult to get through. We’re talking dark.
Some didn’t go my way no matter what I did – one could liken it to a bad season, a bad crop or terrible weather… things completely out of my control.
Some went splendidly with what seemed like little effort whatsoever.
All of this is not to say I’ve already had my best harvest. It’s also not to say that my last harvest will be my best, either.
Your Harvest(s) And Your Destiny
If life is more than one harvest, could it also be that God has more than one “destiny” planned out for you? Does God have many uses for you – not just one?
And if that is the case, then is it fair to conclude that perhaps we each fail at one or more of those purposes God has for us, but we meet or exceed others?
Not only do I think these to be real possibilities, I think they may actually be a clue to our lives altogether. That God isn’t leading you to doing this one, all-important thing. He’s leading you to be many things, many purposes, many destinies.
Which makes sense. If He is all things and we are made in His image, then it would stand to reason that He would want us to be more than one role or purpose.
Perhaps that takes some of the pressure off. Perhaps it doesn’t.
But no matter where you are in your life, if you’re wondering why you’ve haven’t arrived, or never truly fulfilled your destiny, take a look back.
You may find that you’ve done it many, many times already.
And maybe you’ve got more to come!
In looking back on your own life, where do you feel you might have had a successful harvest? Were you able to conclude something similar to what I did above? If so, what does that mean for you? Share your thoughts in the comments below!