Faith in the Harvest
“Let us not become weary in doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”
Galatians 6:9 (NLT)
I received a Christmas present from a friend and along with it, came scripture cards. The main card that tied in with the present had this verse from Galatians on it. As soon as I read it, I burst into tears. My advisor at college repeatedly told us ministry students that it was very likely that we may not see fruit from our ministry for at least 5 years, maybe even never. We can spend every week sharing the wonderful gospel with these amazing youth we have…and the next day will go right back to the behavior we just discussed was not what the bible wants us to do! Maybe we see them learn and connect with the homeless on mission trips or get real with each other on retreat weekends…but the next week laughs at the kid in school who doesn’t wear brand name clothes and they pretend like they don’t know each other at school.
My grandpa was a farmer; now I never paid much attention to specifics because well I was a young girl who had other things to do (so those with more farming knowledge than me I apologize if some of this is not exactly accurate) but I do remember him planting in the spring and harvesting in the fall. It was like clockwork; if he planted in the spring, there would be profit in the fall. What I never really paid attention to was what he did in the winter and summer. For some reason, I thought he just sat at home after he had checked on the cows in the morning. Then I thought of a faint memory of driving around in his old blue truck just staring out at dirt in the fields. Was he bored or wasting time before we got back to his house where we’d each grab a Twinkie for snack while I watched Arthur on PBS? No, he was also out there servicing the machines, checking soil, and all those other things while I chased chickens with my cousins. If he didn’t keep his eye on the weather and keep checking on the crops, there would be no harvest; that time of nurturing and waiting for the harvest was vital for the end profit. He had to have faith in the harvest.
The parallel to ministry is uncanny! We give devotions weekly and then we wait for the harvest. If only we had a guarantee we would see a harvest every fall, but that’s just not how it works. Our relationships with God are all on different clocks. Each of our youth will be close to God and distant from God at different times in their lives. There’s also a chance that we may never see a harvest in a youth. We may lose contact with them before the harvest is revealed in them.
This month as we talk about empowering and equipping volunteers, this is a vital reminder, not only for them but for all of us, that they may not see the importance of their role with the youth until years later. Sitting in the back, asking youth about their day, making sure the snack is out in time, hauling youth from place to place, going bowling or mini-golfing, being a servant to them…what does that have to do with ministry?! EVERYTHING!!!! I’d like to say it’s because I’m fairly new to ministry that I don’t know how to explain the importance of that to my volunteers…but I also think it’s something you have to experience before you truly can understand it.
So this month’s playlist is hopefully encouraging and affirming: Keep doing good works for when the time is right, blessings will be harvested for God and His Kingdom if we don’t give up! And just in case no one has told you this yet today: Good Job!
All your hard work has not gone unnoticed; thank you for all you are doing!
~Ashley Litwiller is the pastor of youth and worship at Arthur Mennonite Church (IL).
- Priceless by For King and Country
We may look to other youth leaders and think they are doing such a better job than we could…but God has called YOU to be YOU! YOU have been chosen! You are so priceless and irreplaceable!
- What Soldiers Do by Monk & Neagle
We each need that moment of instruction with our Daddy. We need to be brave for our church family. God is watching over us as we work and He’s waiting for us at the end of this world. Being a solider for the Lord is the daily task!
- Tell Me by Carrollton
Sometimes we feel like we aren’t getting anywhere “with our best”. We just need that reminder that we are not alone in this work and God always knows what our heart needs to prepare us leaders for youth activities.
- Come Alive (Dry Bones) by Lauren Daigle
Sometimes we feel like we are just speaking to dry dusty bones…but “we know there is more to come that we may not see” We will step into the valley unafraid!
- Please Be My Strength by Gungor
Let’s be real, this work is exhausting! Constantly encouraging others while we don’t always get encouraged ourselves…we have to ask God to be our strength! Only his strength can do this work!
- Overcomer by Mandisa
There will be struggles and we will probably fail once in a while as leaders, but stay in the fight ‘til the final round! It may feel hopeless, but remember, nothing is impossible for God!
- Strangely Dim by Francesca Battistelli
We plan activities and the kids should love them, right? We dream up a great lesson and the kids just sometimes don’t connect. Fix our eyes on God and the end goal…all those worries of “did they get anything from that?” will fade. Have faith that God is working.
- The Sun is Rising by Britt Nicole
Maybe you personally are just at a point in your journey that you barely have enough energy to heal your own wounds right now…the night only lasts for so long! There is a promise for the ones who just hold on. Lift up your eyes and see the sun is rising!
- Worn by Tenth Avenue North
We tend to work ourselves raw. OH it’s for good causes, but we still don’t see the results yet. You are tired from the work set in front of you…but He gives us rest! The struggle will end eventually!
- Because of Your Love by Chris Quilala
The uncrossable, unscalable, unlovable, droughts….we can do this job because of His Love!!
- Walk By Faith by Jeremy Camp
Even when I cannot see the harvest, I will walk by Faith!
- Keep Making Me by Sidewalk Prophets
Leaders are never perfect! We should never expect them to be perfect; God is still working on us too!
- The Wonder Years by Group 1 Crew feat. Moriah Peters and Glory
God has called us to be present in this time before the harvest. Keep your focus on what is in front of you!
- Something in the Water by Carrie Underwood
This song is a reminder of how AWESOME the harvest will be when it comes! Singing songs of Amazing Grace, not being able to wash the smile off our face, joy in our hearts, angels on our side! Trust in someone bigger than ourselves!
- Great is the Faithfulness by Jordan Smith
This version is so fluid and comforting! Classic – God is faithful…all I need his hands will provide!
- Always on Time by Tim Bowman Jr.
God’s timing is perfect! Trust That!