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.
Psalm 126:5-6 NLT
What are we planting? I don’t mean physical seeds, like carrots for a crop later in the year. Or perhaps an orange pip, in the forlorn hope it will grow into a tree here in Scotland. No, we can plant lots of other things. Positive things like good advice. A school teacher instilling an education into often unwilling pupils. A minister preaching the good seed of the Kingdom from the pulpit. But we can also plant negatives in the way we speak to people, or the opinions we populate social media with. There has been many a child, or adult even, driven into depression or a poor opinion of themselves, or worse, by bullies and trolls planting negative seeds about them on Facebook or the like.
When I read these two verses I immediately thought of the times parents plant seeds in their children. Seeds of good advice. Seeds of discipline. Seeds of life. And so often they are planted in tears, to a rebellious child or teenager exhibiting all the qualities of stony ground. Planting in tears. My wife and I fostered difficult children for many years. We certainly shed many tears as we tried to plant good seeds in lives so overgrown by the harvest from bad seed that there was little room for a good harvest. But with some, the good seed prevailed and we are in contact with several children, now grown up, who have produced a good harvest. Harvesting in joy indeed.
In our pilgrimage through life, we will come up against many attempts by others to plant seeds in us. Both good and bad. We need discernment and faith, to ensure that we only receive good seed. But we also need to be careful about what seeds we are planting in others. The Bible is a book full of good seed. And we plant this seed in any opportunity that comes our way. Tell someone that Jesus loves them. Good seed. Tell someone that Jesus heals. More good seed. And these seeds will grow in someone’s heart, producing a harvest of great joy. We need to start in our spiritual potting sheds, culturing seeds through prayer, through Scripture, getting ready for the season of planting. Afterwards, we may never see the harvest – someone else will perhaps experience the joy. But we plant anyway. One day we may be very surprised seeing people in whom we tearfully planted seeds standing with us in Jesus’ presence. A good harvest worthy of a song or two?