These sayings of Solomon to his son cover so much. What struck me strong today was verse 5:
“He who gathers in summer is a wise son; He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame.”
I grew up in an agricultural area. This area is one of the few truly dryland farming areas in the nation. This type of farming has no irrigation–at all–and truly relies on the Lord and His weather provision to grow crops. The rolling hills make irrigation an unwise choice. So the farmers pray. They pray for rain. And, sometimes, they pray for the rain to stop so the budding crops will grow instead of rot.
The fields blie the time on the calendar. Rich brown earth in the fall, planted seeds of winter and spring wheat, and hills covered in snow, insulating the ground. As February chill turns to March rain, the tiny green sprouts press against the soil to show evidence of life. Plantings growing taller, waving in the spring and summer winds. And as June rolls into July, the furthest north fields begin to turn. Green to gold in patches–you can tell where the sun was strong.
Then it is harvest. And farmers hit the fields in the dark of morning, return in the dark of night–only a few hours of sleep. It is harvest. And the community prays–prays hard and daily. The dry crop waiting for its turn is the most dangerous time–weather over 90-degrees for days on end, rain no where to be seen, and hot equipment running in fields that border highways.
One spark, one tiny spark from an overheated exhaust, or a shard of metal flung from the road, or a driver mindlessly tossing a cigarette out the window endangers lives and livelihoods.
Did you know a wheat field fire routinely tops 60 miles per hour? The fire wastes no time on the stalks and only runs, burning the heads of the wheat. A farmer and his workers on tractors and combines cannot outrun the fire. They must, in wisdom, abandon million dollar equipment to jump in the truck that can outrun the fire to save their lives–as their year’s salary quite literally goes up in flames behind them.
Oh, but those fires. The community pulls together. Fleeing a fire is accompanied by getting on the horn and alerting fire departments and neighboring farmers. Everyone drops everything and descends to put the fire out–to save another’s livelihood.
A community reliant on God, entwined with neighbors, and working hours on end to bring in the harvest–every. single. year.
So when God says the harvest is ripe–get out of bed. In the dark of the morning until the dark of the night, be about His work. And when the spiritual battle flings sparks in your field, get on the horn. Get the help you need. And get to work.
If you sleep in the harvest, you starve. Period.
When the harvest concludes, the stalks are turned into the soil, and the rich brown soil of fall readies to receive the seed which will result in the harvest next year.
Image by SarahJJay