Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Law of the Harvest

I love the fall season. The temperatures are mild and the nights cool. It is also a time of harvest, a time that we enjoy the blessings of the law of the harvest. Yesterday we pulled up the garden and put what is left of the tomatoes, onions, potatoes and peppers into the greenhouse where we will enjoy the fruits of our labor for a little longer.  We have enjoyed fresh tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, lettuce, garlic, onions, lettuce and peppers for several months now and the season is coming to an end. Tomorrow we are expecting a hard frost thus the reason for picking the last of the garden and laying it up in storage. Last week we picked the apples off our tree and we will enjoy them for several months this fall and winter. We also enjoyed an abundance of cherries and peaches. We have really been blessed this season.

Each spring when we prepare our soil and plant the seeds in the garden, we never know how well things will grow. We always do our part by continuing to water and pull the weeds. To be honest weeds do not dare grow in our garden because for years my wife has made sure that there were few weeds. Usually if we do our part, we end up having an abundance of fruits and vegetables.  Our fruit trees are a different story. We always pray for a good crop, but things depend on whether there is a frost just as the trees are in blossom. We are also dependent on the bees pollinating the trees to provide the fruit. Last year we had no apples on our tree and very few cherries due to a bad frost that killed all the blossoms. This year made up for the lack of fruit last year.

Growing up both of our families had gardens that provided opportunities for us to learn the principle of the harvest and to see the blessings of hard work. This is a great principle that we tried teaching our children and now our grandchildren are learning it from their parents. Elder L. Tom Perry tells of his experiences as a child and now with his children and their gardens:

“(the) growth cycle has always been a marvel to me—the process of fertilizing, tilling, planting, weeding, and irrigating to produce a harvest. I am continually amazed with the power in a single seed as it multiplies itself many, many times. I’ve tried to perpetuate this understanding in the lives of my children. Each has had his turn in tilling, planting, weeding, and watering. Exposing yourself to the Lord’s system cannot help but give you an appreciation for his bounteous blessings to us. There have been very few years in my life when I have not been responsible for a garden. Even now as a city condominium dweller, I still plant and harvest a garden each year.
“When my daughter moved to Bountiful, Utah, three years ago, we went out to inspect her new home. To my great disappointment, the backyard was too small to produce much of a garden. However, in looking over her back fence, I discovered a vacant lot that was for sale. I quickly made arrangements with the owner to purchase it. Now the Perry family has its own welfare farm. As a family we soon learned to appreciate the parable of the sower. The vacant lot had been used for years by good neighbors as a dumping ground for weeds, grass clippings, rocks, tree limbs, etc. Many hours of work produced only a small garden of minimum yield that first year. The next year more of the good soil was made productive with additional hours of labor. Now, the third year, all but a small hill at the front of the property is bringing forth an abundant harvest. It has removed from us the worry of food cost inflation, for we have been able to increase our yield much faster than food cost inflation has increased.
“The great blessing is that we are only beginning. The yield has no limits on its increase. Our labors will continue to bring forth more abundant harvest each year as we follow the Lord’s law of the harvest. He has bound himself to provide us with abundance so long as we will live his law in righteousness and labor for that blessing.
“Each spring as I look over an insignificant, small seed and place it in a well-prepared seed bed, I marvel at how much it will produce. Then my soul is filled with thanksgiving when I realize what can happen when that small seed begins to multiply itself, and I contemplate my potential as part of the greatest of all creations, man. I am one of His spirit children. If a seed can multiply thirty, sixty, or even a hundredfold, what then is my potential if I would but cast out the stones, clean out the thorns, cultivate deeply into the soil for a good seedbed, irrigate, and nourish? It is then that I realize there is no limit to my potential so long as I conform my life to the Lord’s law of the harvest.” (“The Law of the Harvest”, Elder L. Tom Perry, New Era, October 1980)
As Elder Perry mentioned, the law of the harvest applies to our lives as well as our gardens and fruit trees. We will reap the rewards of what we sow in our lives. If we keep the commandants of God and serve our brothers and sisters, we will enjoy the blessings of eternal life with God and His Son. Jesus taught this principle when he told the parable of the sower:

Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:
 And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.

 And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:

But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.
And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.

And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred. (Mark 4:3-8)

When the disciples asked what the parable meant he said unto them:

The sower soweth the word.

And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.

And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;

And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.

And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,

 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.

And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred. (Mark 3:14-20)

It is interesting to note that even when the gospel seed is sown on good ground the yield is different. I believe that the difference is how much we apply the gospel principles in our lives. Not only must we be careful not to sow in stony ground or poor soil, but also we must not give in to the cares of the world that will choke the spirit in our lives. We must also be willing to serve others and help them nourish the gospel seed in their lives and help them enjoy the blessings of the harvest. As we lose ourselves in serving others, our harvest becomes even richer and fuller.  And in so doing others and we will enjoy the rewards of the law of the harvest.

Your questions and comments are welcome.

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