“While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” Genesis 8:22
It is wheat harvest time in the Oklahoma Panhandle. Unfortunately the wheat this year has been burnt from a very late freeze in April. It froze, then got real warm for a day or two, and then froze again. The wheat didn’t like it at all. All through the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles the wheat is very brown in places instead of the usual beautiful gold. Most of the heads are still mushy or have very small grains in them. Most of our neighbors are baling the wheat into big bales to feed their cattle. The drought has left little for the cattle to eat and so many have had to be sold. Some of the farmers have even let their cattle into the wheat fields to just eat it and stomp it back into the ground. A failed harvest is very hard around here.
A good farmer is prepared for an occasional bad harvest. We never know when weather is going to mess up our best laid plans. Having cattle to sell helps make ends meet. In case of drought, like we’ve had the past several years, it’s also good to have some oil income. God has been good to this country. There are so many ways to make a living off the same piece of land. Mind you, you have to have a fairly large piece to make a go of it. No 5 acre farming out here. It just won’t work. When the Homesteaders ran the great Cherokee Strip Land Run in 1893, they staked claims of 160 acres, which is a quarter of a section, and in order to keep it, had to live on it for five years and make visible improvements. You could get another quarter section for trees, a Timber Claim, and later add more farming land. So most of the land out here is set up in blocks. The roads are mostly straight North-South and East-West around each mile block. Each section will usually have a piece with some old trees, a piece with an old dugout house or maybe a foundation left from an old post frame house, a piece with farmland, and then a pasture for cattle. Very little of the land is still in the family of those who originally settled it. Most of my family bought from land runners who couldn’t make a go of it. Fortunately they didn’t sell or abandon the land in the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s. Many did, and their land was bought up by a few wealthy men whose families now enjoy very large spreads of land.
When Paul and I married, I teased him that he’d be related to half the country when we tied the knot. It is pretty close to true. A few hardy families have “stuck it out.” I’m proud to be part of that legacy. I’ve always tried to learn from my great-grandparents and all they did and lived through. They were amazing people.
Luke 10:2 – “Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.”
This verse is so true! There were so few who could truly homestead this wild country. If you transfer that thought to a worldwide Christian faith, it can be overwhelming. Managing a harvest of so many people needing the Gospel with the drought conditions in their hearts and the storms of trial and temptation everywhere, we need to be prepared. Just like the farmers and ranchers of “No Man’s Land,” we can prepare our hearts and lives for the harvest God has for us to work.
John 4:34-36 – “Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.”
Here are a few basic steps for harvesting:
- Realize the harvest may not be what you think. Sometimes the wheat gets freezer burnt, but that doesn’t mean it’s worthless. The farmers bale it up, bind it, and stack it for use. There are a lot of people out there who are burnt up with sin and the consequences of it. Drugs and disease have left their minds and bodies impaired. Fortunately, these people usually have the most inspiring testimonies. Bale them up, bind the demons who have been torturing them, and set them up for use in the Kingdom. Most of all, PRAY for them.
- Weather the storms. There are times when you have to hop in the hidey hole (cellar) and wait out a tornado, hail storm, or dust storm. Waiting is so hard. We are naturally impatient. Sometimes God wants us to wait on Him. “Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.” (Psalm 37:34) Waiting doesn’t mean doing nothing at all. Spend that time as you would in a cellar during a tornado–praying!
- Be prepared. Farmers and ranchers don’t just farm or just ranch out here. They do both and often even have their own little oil company, or work with one. God gave us land that produces and supports many different needs. In our Christian lives, we can’t always be out witnessing to people in person. Sometimes sending cards and letters is better, and sometimes donating money or useful items makes the big difference in someone’s life. You never know when a card or a bag of groceries is the needed answer to a heart crying out to the Lord. Sometimes all you can do is pray and let the fountains of the depth of God’s great love flow out into someone’s life.
Revelation 14:15 says, “And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” What sickle has the Lord put into your hand? What field has he set you to harvest in? He has given the tools to harvest where you are. Ask Him to show you how to use them to manage the harvest set before you.