As I've been driving on my commute to the Ohio State Lima campus for the past three years, I have developed a new appreciation for fall as Thanksgiving approaches, something I never took the time to completely observe with all of the busyness in my Columbus schedule. My Lima commute is serene and relaxing, so I can fully enjoy the view of leaves turning into dazzling red shades on white oak and maple trees. I imagine that if I were a fashion designer my fall clothing line would be inspired from my simple survey of this spectacular wonder of nature. Another annual fall season event that I've taken keen notice of in Lima is the corn harvest. I see farmers clearing large acres of land with combine harvesters, and I think about Genesis 8:22, which says that "seedtime and harvest ... shall not cease" while the earth remains. I also reflect on Mark 4:28, where Jesus said, "For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself: first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear." I've always marveled at how crops grow from the ground, and as we begin to get ready for Thanksgiving, I have not only thought about the food I love to eat during the holidays but also the spiritual harvest in my own life.
The parable of "The Growing Seed" that Jesus explained in Mark 4:26-29 speaks to the complex progression of how plants sprout and bear food and fruit, and Mark is the only synoptic Gospel that mentions this teaching. One of the reasons that I've thought so much about seedtime and harvest this year is that I'm so grateful to be able to partake in a blessed harvest that includes provision from God for everything that I need. It took me a while to comprehend that everything I need will not always include everything I want, but now being older and wiser, along with living through the COVID-19 pandemic, there are not enough words to express my thankfulness that my needs are met.
Regarding planting seeds, I've always had a sound understanding about the divine Kingdom principle of sowing and reaping in the natural realm of giving. I've heard many sermons on Luke 6:38, which teaches that our giving is sowing a seed that returns "good measure." When I was younger, I focused heavily on giving; however, I did not do a lot of studying on how the seed of God's Word was supposed to grow and manifest in me after it had been planted in my spirit. Although I had read the parable of "The Sower and the Seed" many times in the Gospel of Matthew, I had not been diligently tending the "Seed" to produce the spiritual fruit listed in Galatians 5:22-23. I now know that a great spiritual harvest does not just include blessings of prosperity but also an abundance of spiritual fruit for the purpose of ministry. So, as the farmers in Lima have been able to glean their corn harvests this season, I've asked myself, "What has God been able to glean from me?" When He looks on my fruit tree, will He find that love, joy, and peace have been cultivated? Will He see that I'm exhibiting temperance and longsuffering in my daily interactions and personal relationships? The latter is especially important now because the pandemic has definitely shown us how much we depend on and need each other. When I'm grocery shopping, I want to display kindness to the associates who are working hard to make sure we all have the food and supplies we need. At work, I do not want to sow seeds of strife with my colleagues or seeds of anxiety among my students. I don't want to reap negativity rooting up and choking my gentleness and meekness. Just as the Lima farmers have assiduously ploughed their fields, I want to follow that same industriousness spiritually, and I want my harvest to overflow to be a blessing to others as the Thanksgiving season gets underway.