Psalm 126 is the perfect song for Thanksgiving, and so is the hymn it inspired. “Bringing in the Sheaves” was written in 1874 by Knowles Shawl. His words were set to George Minor’s music in 1880, and a wonderful hymn was born. I marvel at the ways God’s Word sprouts and spreads. I haven’t sung the old hymn in many years, but I was reminded of it as I read Psalm 126 last night.
Psalm 126:5-6 says “Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.” People have been replaced by machines in the field, but the message in Psalm 126 and the hymn remind me that God’s harvest is still personal and requires His children working together to bring the sweet news of salvation to the world.
Sowing is the hard part of the harvest and involves weeping, but reaping brings great joy. Tears water the seeds. Growth is painful and never gets easier, but I must continue to grow as long as I am in this world. Age both helps and hurts the growth process. Maturity shows me the necessity of growth, but age stiffens more than my muscles when it comes to sowing, growing, and reaping as God desires.
I’ve been stiff lately, and I know it is due to a lack of yielding. I’ve come to a place of deciding if I’m going to go to the next level or stay where I am. The choice is mine. I’ve seen what happens when growing stops; dying begins. Joy departs, and rotting replaces reaping. “Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.” I prefer reaping to rotting, so I plan to keep growing.
I can’t go into God’s field picking and choosing what to reap or worrying about what happened to my seeds. God’s field is ripe for harvest, and that is all that matters. The song and the psalm use “we” and “those,” both plural. The harvest is best done together. It is God’s field, and He deserves all the credit and the glory. I am here to bring in sheaves with joy and glorify God in the process.
Planting a seed is important, but there are many factors which contribute to a seed’s growth. That is especially true in God’s field. The only thing that matters is to “lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.” John 4:35 NASB Growing impatient while waiting for the harvest, wondering if the seed I planted is part of the harvest, and worrying about who’s in the field next to me get in way of the harvest and take joy away from bringing in God’s sheaves.
It’s easy to become weary, but it helps if I grow while I wait. If I simply sit back, settle, and become complacent, I will miss the beauty of the process God has in mind for my growth. Seeds take time to mature, and that’s why there is so much joy in reaping. The growing season mirrors the season of my own heart’s growing. There is a time to sow, a time to nurture, a time to wait, and a time to reap. Resting and quitting are very different ways to wait. I love this line from the poem “Don’t quit” by an unknown author. “When care is pressing you down a bit, Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.”
Growing disciples is a beautiful process that requires deep personal connections in order for roots to reach deeply into Christ’s love. His love feeds and flows beautifully if I open my heart and develop relationships that allow me to walk in His kingdom and help with His harvest. Christ’s precious love makes me come rejoicing as I bring in the sheaves. Sharing it with others is what the harvest is all about:)