We shall come rejoicing, Bringing in the Sheaves

‘The harvest season started a few weeks ago. Since then we’ve hardly seen our neighbours let alone chat with them. They get up at the crack of dawn while we’re still snug in bed and come home late in the afternoons. The few times that I’ve seen some of them, they’re covered from head to foot with clothing to protect them from the Sun (and I stupidly asked one of the neighbours why they were dressed so warm on such a hot day, oops). Even when they have finished harvesting their own crops, they continue to work in other people’s fields all day long- they work very hard and their faces show it too. One day I said to my husband that I felt sorry for them because they were working so hard. But my husband told me not to feel sad but rather to join them in their happiness because this was the happiest time of the year for them – a time when they finally get to reap the harvest of their hard labour. And on close inspection, I noticed that in spite of their hard work, nobody complained about it. They were happy. It reminded me of the hymn ‘We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves’. We’ve heard preachers preach this sermon before, even Jesus spoke about this; but how wonderful to finally know what it truly implicates.

Yes, how wonderful for the reapers and more so – how wonderful for the owners. I could not help but think about our present labour here in the field of the Almighty. How happy we will be to meet our Maker bearing our sheaves with us. And more importantly, how happy will God be to see us bringing home his lost children after our labours are over. It would be worth all our labours and much more to see the Father smile at us then.

A few days ago, our family decided to help one of our neighbours harvest their rice. It was tiring and hot and we itched all over but it was also a lot of fun and a great experience. I could imagine the family’s joy to see the bundles of rice paddy piled up high. When it was time to go home, the father said that he was spending the night there to guard the paddy so that they were not stolen. Yes, it was now time to see that all of the harvest was taken home safely.

One family in our neighbourhood had all their rice bundles stolen right under their noses. Their joy, the fruit of their hard work was stolen and they had nothing more to be happy about during the season, I felt a piece of their pain considering the amount of time, labour and capital they put into it. In the blink of an eye some thoughtless, selfish rogues had nipped their hopes and dreams in the bud. And it made me think of the sadness God would feel to see his dear children stolen by the heartless Satan. Isn’t it wonderful that God has given us the responsibility of harvesting his field and also to watch over the harvest so that none will be lost to the devil?

However, in Church Planting as in farming, the harvesting part comes last. The sequence of events- preparing the soil, sowing the seed, watering the crop, waiting and waiting and then the harvest all come in a sequence. God uses us for different roles, sometimes we sow the seeds and sometimes we are the reapers, and still sometimes our role is to just wait and see God do the work. It is easy to be the reaper; we often don’t mind the hard work knowing there’s a harvest ahead. But as the farmer always has in his mind a picture of the ripe field whether he prepares the soil, or sows the seeds or just waits, our Father in heaven also has a picture of the harvest in his mind. He doesn’t care which part of the job we are in as long as we do it faithfully and with love for him. No matter how important or insignificant our task seems, God just wants the best we can be for Him. And one day our song will be ‘We HAVE come rejoicing bringing in the sheaves’.

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