Bringing in the Sheaves

Sheesh! Can you believe we are already in November?! The time is flying by and winter will soon be upon us! I was thinking a bit about this as I was looking around at fall decorations door to door. The harvest season is all but completed and people have hay bales stashed on the front steps. They also have these little bundles of dried grasses bunched together. We have one as part of our fall decorations at church. Do you know what they are called? It’s called a “sheaf”… the plural of which is “sheaves”. Does that word sound familiar? In case it doesn’t, “Bringing in the Sheaves” is an ancient hymn penned by an American named Knowles Shaw, who was inspired by Psalm 126:6.

“Bringing in the Sheaves”

Many will recognize it from “Little House on the Prarie” … the little chapel congregation always seemed to be singing it whenever the Ingalls family attended church. Interestingly enough, it was also featured in the horror film “Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2” and the 1966 version of “Batman”! Talk about the gospel in strange places! Here are the lyrics:

“Sowing in the morning, sowing seeds of kindness,

Sowing in the noontide and the dewy eve;

Waiting for the harvest, and the time of reaping,

We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

Refrain:Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves,Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

Sowing in the sunshine, sowing in the shadows,

Fearing neither clouds nor winter’s chilling breeze;

By and by the harvest, and the labor ended,

We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves. (Refrain)

Going forth with weeping, sowing for the Master,

Though the loss sustained our spirit often grieves;

When our weeping’s over, He will bid us welcome,

We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves. (Refrain)”

Knowles Shaw, 1874

Obviously the old fashioned hymn makes references to the farming harvest. But how powerful of an example is this to the Bible’s idea of sowing the good news? It’s hard work to labour and toil (ask any farmer!) but the fruits of your labours are certainly worthy of rejoicing! Such is also true of the follower of Christ who shares His love. The servant attitude and sometimes tedious faith journey is hard work! Sharing your faith is not easy — especially in the world we live in today! Yet, the joys of “bringing in your harvest” is certainly cause for rejoicing, not only in the heart of the new believer, but also in your own!

So, before the snow dusts the world in white, remember those bundles of straw we put out on the porch steps… and what they represent, then smile as you “bring in your sheaves”.

Sow and See

A week ago, we had subzero temperatures here in Canada. Two days ago, a snowstorm of winter proportions hit us with full force. I curse the all season tires we have on the car and it’s poor performance on slick roads! Yet — We’ve dug ourselves out and declared war on the white stuff. Teehee, you wanna know what we did while the rest of our world hid in the shadows of a few more weeks of winter? We planted seeds for spring!

Yup, the Sunblaster grow light is up and running and the basement has turned into our little mini greenhouse. We are still beginner gardeners, here, but I’m following in the footsteps of a few others who seem to have started things (and seem to know what they are doing). I don’t know if we are doing things right; I really didn’t research seedlings or time zones or whatever zones, nor have I planned what may need to be started early or late or … well, let’s just say I went on a whim and threw some seeds in some dirt and stuck them under a bright light with a well watered mat.

A few weeks back we heard a good sermon on the passage in Mark 4 about the parable of the Sower who sowed some seeds. Which seemed perfect to chat about since we have started the little urban garden in our basement recently. We were reminded that the farmer just scattered the seeds aimlessly… or so it seemed. Does it seem illogical to you that nowadays we plant neat little rows of crops and the farmer of old just threw seed willy-nilly so that it lands in all different types of soil? Why waste the seeds on ground that won’t produce harvest? Upon further research, I discovered that that was, indeed, the way the sowers sowed back then! So much for planning!

Which brings me back to our little grow light and our early seeding experiment. We have simply planted and will see what happens. Which is exactly what God wants us to do with the gospel! We have no idea who God’s story will hit and when … it is simply our job to sow the seed. Ecclesiastes 11:6 says:

“In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.”

ESV

As many of you know, my word for the year is “brave” (you can read about it here)… and I am trying to be brave about sharing my faith, even in subtle ways here and there… because I will never know what kind of impact I may have. Will the seed grow and be strong? Or will it be just the beginning of a spark and others will fan the flame? Have I made an impact in someone else’s life by reflecting God’s love when they needed it most? These are the questions I must ask myself often.

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So, what do you think, my beloved readers and followers? Would you be interested in a deeper study about the parable of the sower? Should we look at it for a few more weeks? Shall we see where the “growth” may take us? Leave me a comment below if you are interested in studying this with us (or any topic you might like!) This week our corn has been the first to pop it’s head out of our indoor trays. Last year, our corn didn’t grow or flourish at all… could this be the start of a good crop this year? We can’t know for sure… but we are remembering that we just need to sow and see!

Patiently Waiting

The last two days on my route to work, I encountered a sight that I thought I would share about and how it lead to this week’s muse. On the corner of the intersection where I turn down the street, was an attractive young woman dressed in a turquoise jumpsuit with matching coloured Covid mask. Her jet black hair was long and hung straight down passed her waist. The first day I saw her, she was crossing the street in front of my car and I simply thought she was thoroughly enjoying her music as she bopped across the intersection in her earbuds. Yet, her animations were a bit too boisterous not to be noticed. As she neared the corner of the sidewalk, she raised her hands and began pointing and waving at passing cars like some pro wrestler entering the arena for the heavyweight championship. Her smile was wide and whatever the words were to the song, I was unknowing, but I couldn’t help but smile at her exuberance.

I’d like to imagine she was praising the Lord — bopping to some upbeat worship tune and just couldn’t help but share His love with the passing cars. More than likely she was fighting the voices in her head, and lived with some issue that perhaps lead to her bewildered actions, which is sad, but it made me think: am I that excited about life and the people God puts before me?! So much so, that I would share my story (or simply my praises) with passing vehicles? Without a care or thought to what the rest of the world might think of my mental stability?

Photo: Jay Clark (Unsplash)

I had to attend jury duty this past week, which was an experience in itself in this post Covid-19 world. The venues had to be increased from the simple courtroom holding spaces to convention centers to allow for “social distancing” of the potential jurors. There were about five waiting rooms with about 45 people in each… seated 2 metres apart in single rows of chairs. Each with faces covered in masks, each attending to their own worlds of reading materials, laptops and cell phone messages. No one talked, no one smiled at each other. No one barely looked past the back of the person’s head in front of them. We simply existed, shuffled about like ticketed cattle, waiting for our number to be called (or praying it doesn’t get called). It was all very odd.

Each of these two scenarios had me wondering about the people in my world. My neighbourhoods and the people I come into “contact” with everyday. 2 Peter 3:9 says this:

 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

NIV

The full chapter describes the “Day of the Lord” — His return to earth. I am to be anticipating His return, yet anxiously sharing the good news, so that “everyone shall come to repentance”. I’m afraid I do a miserable job. I may giggle and ponder at the exuberance of those who are gifted in evangelism… sharing their faith at street corners. I may contemplate the sheer volume of the population “still to be saved”. I send my gifts to those who devote their lives to the cause, both at home and overseas. The truth is, it only takes one to win one. To simply tell my story, and let God do the rest. It’s not my job to change hearts. It’s not my job to turn lives around or fix the broken. He’s merely waiting patiently for me to open the door for someone. I’m slightly convicted. What’s my excuse? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Comment about how you share your faith! Motivate me, so the Lord doesn’t have to be so patient!