A HARVEST OF GENEROSITY
I had never really been on a farm. I remember visiting a petting zoo and riding a horse as a kid, but I don’t think that counts. A South Dakota field of 5,000 acres where the sky seems to go on forever — now that’s a farm! This past October, as the harvest was coming in, I had my first real visit to a farm. As I rode shotgun in a $250,000 combine, I got an education in the spiritual life lessons of farming.
Please forgive my ignorance, but I assumed farming was a boring job. I had no idea there was so much risk involved. An entire season can be lost with one storm. Farming is scary! Every day is a high stake’s adventure that is both physically taxing and intellectually rigorous. The brains and brawn required to be a successful farmer are somewhere up there with a navy jet fighter pilot.
What surprised me most was the way my instructor, Farmer John, was stretched in his faith. Here is what he told me: “Farming has a way of forcing you to trust God. Planting seed is an act of faith. In lean years, we learn to trust him and be wise stewards with what God provides. In years of plenty, we celebrate the harvest through our generosity by investing in God’s mission around the world!”
I made the trip to South Dakota to share about the mission of Global Partners. As the Director of Partner Engagement, I help churches, financial partners, and farmers see how they can be involved in reaching the 4 in 10 people in the world who do not yet have access to the gospel. However, I had no idea how much God would teach me about extravagant generosity.
Harvest time has an urgency to it. There is a window of opportunity when the fields are ripe, and the time is now! Unlike me, the people of Jesus’ day were much more acquainted with life on the farm. One of my favorite passages is when Jesus is sharing spiritual life lessons with his followers, and he told them, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matthew 9:37b-38 NIV).
Any farmer will tell you that when it is harvest time, you get laser-like focus on one task. If equipment breaks, you work all night to fix it. If there is a crisis, it must wait. Bringing in the harvest takes priority over everything else. During harvest season, everyone has a job to do.
That is the same kind of urgency and focus Jesus is asking of us. Jesus looks out on a world in need and prays for people like you and me — people willing to join him in bringing in the harvest. It is fascinating to me that Jesus is never content to do all the work himself. Instead, he is always calling and equipping others to join in the work.
As we made the last turn with the combine and headed back to the wagons, I presented some of the opportunities to invest in the next generation of new missionaries. John turned to me and said, “I believe it’s going to be a good harvest this year, put me down for $10,000. I want this gift to be the first fruit from this year’s crop!”
It might look like just soybeans or corn, but the harvest that John cares deeply about is seeing the good news of Jesus take root in hard places and lives being made new.
Will you join with Farmer John in sending the next generation of missionaries to reach the 4 in10 who are without access to the gospel? The New Missionary Accelerator provides direct assistance to first-term missionaries who are currently raising their support. To give to the New Missionary Accelerator go to https://www.globalpartnersonline.org/project/new-missionary-accelerator/