“We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves”
Not being much of a gardener, I don’t have a bushel of vegetables to harvest much less a sheave. But as a child, growing up on a farm, I recall there was plenty to harvest.Canning and preserving took place all summer along with the outside chores of putting up hay for the winter.
I have always thought the word ‘sheaves’ to be a funny one. Another one of those old fashioned words we come across in a hymnal, like “Ebenezer.” It was interesting then for me to discover that the song “Bringing in the Sheaves” originated from a verse found in the Psalms. “Restore our fortunes, Lord, as streams renew the desert. Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed but they sing as they return with the harvest"* Or, as the King James Version says, “Bringing his sheaves with him.”
What a powerful image this verse brings to my mind. And immediately I know this verse as a metaphor. I see prayer warriors down on their knees, weeping before the throne as they prepare to plant the seeds of the gospel in their communities. Tears mingling with the seeds they sow them. Rejoicing with all their might when even just one soul comes to Christ.
As I said, I’m not much of a gardener. I don’t think of myself as a missionary or an evangelist either. I’m not even a very consistent prayer warrior. On a good day I claim to be a writer but even that has it’s periods of dormancy. Yet I know that if I let the Holy Spirit guide my hands as they move over the keyboard, I can plant seeds with words. I can labor over my writing, sweating bullets, weeping from the effort, hoping against hope that something I write strikes a chord with another and brings them some hope. Some joy. Some truth.
As a writer I have the opportunity to share the good news through my blog posts, through short stories and devotionals, even maybe, dare I say it?—a novel?
I feel a little guilty when I look out over my backyard; the cheeky Armagarden sign hanging from the empty bean pole structure. I have this beautiful plot of dirt that could yield much if I could just put some effort into it. I have my reasons, my excuses, some justified, some not, for letting it lie dormant another season. What can I offer as my excuse for not using the gift God has given me for stringing words together to reach into someone’s life and give hope?
Those who plant with tears.
It’s not meant to be an easy task. Whether I am speaking of tilling the soil or sharing the good news, it’s meant to come with some sacrifice. Some sweat. Some deep digging, some soul searching.
Harvest with shouts of joy.
Could God possibly use my words to bring light into one person’s life? Could He use me to bring a harvest? A sheave?
I won’t know unless I try.
(*Psalm 126; NLT)
Bringing in the Sheaves; Knowles Shaw, 1874