For more than fifteen years, since I finished my Masters of Divinity (MDiv.) degree prior to beginning my doctoral work, I have been concerned about losing the Greek that I had studied for three years in school. I also took Hebrew but it was very difficult for me and I was far more attracted to the Greek during my first three seminary years. I used to say that it was like reading the Bible in color – it really came alive when read in the original language of the New Testament.
Make no mistake, the first day I attended Greek class my first year, I made a decision to drop out of Greek. The Dean talked me into waiting three weeks and if I still wanted to drop it, he would sign the form. But three weeks later, I was hopelessly in love with Greek and stayed the course. Best decision I made in seminary.
Year two I took both Greek and started Hebrew. That was a tall order for me – foreign languages never came that easy to me. But to at least try and retain what I had learned I subscribed to a website that translated one verse a day from the Greek (dailydoseofgreek.com) and have been an ardent follower for many years now. It’s been a labor of love – day by day. I can’t even say that I will ever be proficient in the Greek. But that’s not the point – I work at it every day. To be sure, I also subscribe to dailydoseofhebrew.com but I haven’t really been able to keep up as easily.
Each year, the Daily Dose team puts on a week long seminar in Louisville and there are sessions for both Greek and Hebrew students. I have never attended – I think I would hold others back but I have thought about breaking down and just jumping in.
So I decided to listen online to one of the plenary sessions – it happened to be on “The Law of the Harvest.” It was presented by the Hebrew scholar who does the Daily Dose verses and he was quite entertaining as well as enlightening. Adam went on to talk about life in general and used this famous “law” to make comparisons to learning a foreign language.
The Bible has numerous stories about sowing and reaping. The big idea is that nothing worth having happens in an instant. First you sow and then, eventually, you reap. And you usually reap what you sow…
Also, we tend to forget about the length of time it takes to get to the “harvest.” Of course, farmers know this… but we don’t necessarily think about this when we try to acquire a new skill or a language or anything of value. In fact, we kind of wish our lives away, wanting to get to the harvest as soon as possible. But the “law of the harvest” also encourages us to enjoy the journey – not just hold our breath for the result.
Results take time and too many people rush through the process trying to get to the finish line as soon as possible. But the point of this “law” is that we are to sow great seeds and then tend to them through the harvest. When we wish to become more competent in a discipline, whether it is to hone our skills in a language, to improve our cooking skills, or to learn how to become proficient in a new hobby, these things take time. Usually lots of time – Malcom Gladwell tells us that it takes 10,000 hours to become proficient in a new discipline. So, sit back, enjoy the journey and smell the roses along the way.
Our verse for tonight is from Paul’s letter to the church at Galatia. Paul tells them, and us, that we will reap what we sow. And it is important to sow the best seeds. Paul says, in Galatians 6:7-10, “…. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
My encouragement this evening is that we are to use our skills and God given talents to the most noble and highest purpose we can. Not only will we glorify God, but we will be reaping a better harvest as a result of being steadfast and diligent in our pursuit of excellence. And we will even have time to smell the roses along the way. Such is the law of the harvest! Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…