“The sluggard does not plow after the autumn, so he begs during the harvest and has nothing.” Proverbs 20:4.
Agrarians debate the value of Spring vs. Fall plowing, but certain variables notwithstanding, most agree that it is best to plow a field after the fall harvest so that the soil is most fertile for the spring planting.
My mom and dad were always proud of their garden. Sometimes, when people came by the house, my folks would show them how good the corn, beans, and tomato plants looked. I never recall them, though, taking anyone out back to look at the tilled dirt in the cold of winter.
The writer of Proverbs strikes an important chord with the verse today. There isn’t much fun about plowing a field. It is cold, hard work and it will be months before the field can even be planted. However, it is necessary as doing so gives an advantage to the Spring planter. The remaining vegetation will be turned under to decompose. The temperature of the soil will aid in this process. Insects and other parasites below the surface will be uprooted and diminished in the Spring. Still, the work isn’t easy…and it doesn’t feel “pressing” at the moment.
Cultivating spiritual lives requires the same diligence and discipline as good farming. There are seasons of harvest but the greater efforts are put in where the work is less “glorious.” The field of evangelism is plowed in private seasons of prayer. The fields of patience, gentleness, and kindness (grace) are plowed in times of reflection on our own sin and God’s magnificent grace toward us in Salvation. The fields of obedience in discipling others are plowed long before in ones own submission, accountability, and discipleship by others.
The step of plowing may not seem glorious but it is necessary to experience an abundant harvest. The man or woman with no evangelistic fruit bear witness to the lack of diligence in prayer and preparation. A lack of patience demonstrates a lack of preparation by soaking in the meditative moments of reflection on God’s gracious kindness toward us.
Plowing is hard work. It is not glamorous. It does not bear immediate fruit; however, if one omits the step or procrastinates too long, he will be left begging at the time of harvest.
Choose today to plow the fields. Do the hard work now and trust in the harvest to come. God will bring a harvest because the harvest brings Him glory. John 15:8.