Harvest Will Come
Spoonfuls of God's Grace
When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So, pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” (Matthew 9:36-38 NLT)
In 1984, I met Sig, an experimental bamboo farmer in what is now Moreno Valley in Southern California. My husband’s Air Force career had taken us to what looked to our northern-born eyes to be a desert of Joshua trees and concrete, relieved only by oases of orange groves nearing extinction due to the never-ending encroachment of newly bricked subdivisions at that time. Back then, we went to Sunnymead Church of the Nazarene where Sig took us under his wing and let us live for a few special weeks in his cabin among the bamboo while we waited for on-base housing.
Although they were two generations apart, Sig and my husband connected. The bamboo experiment intrigued him. Growing up on a farm in Minnesota where water was almost too abundant, my husband wondered how Sig was able to grow bamboo in Southern California where water was scarce and bamboo notoriously thirsty. Sig showed us. He had devised an irrigation system for his bamboo, a trickle system, where tiny dippers on a conveyor belt transported spoonfuls of water up to an elevated holding tank. There was a float in the tank and when the trickled water reached a certain level, a valve would open, and the collected water would release into pipes that connected to his barrels of bamboo. It was ingenious. What’s more, it worked. Sig’s plants thrived on drops of water.
Sig’s trickle irrigation reminds me of what Jesus saw when he looked out at the world to see people confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. You and I see the same thing when we look out at our world, a desert of forgotten hope in the eyes of people too dry to shed tears. Our hearts beat with the compassion of Jesus, and we have prayed, “Lord, send workers into the field!” Then one day we woke up with a call to ministry on our life and discovered with awe and wonder that we have become the answer to our own prayers.
We see the white fields. We have begun our labor, but the work seems so slow. College seems so slow. Building relationships—so slow. But, like Sig’s trickle system, spoonfuls of God’s grace are always moving, and when the fullness of time comes, from God’s perspective, the valve will open. The harvest will begin. One here. Two there. A trickle, perhaps, in these desert days, but a harvest, nevertheless. In Jesus’ harvest field, we need to resist the temptation to be too eager. We likewise need to resist discouragement and trust Jesus to convey us, grace by grace, working by spoonfuls, until the floodgates open.
By Amy Trosen, NBC Student