From time to time, whether at the church, from your friends, YouTube or even television, you hear the words "it's harvest season". Often times we get so excited, we sing we are ready for the harvest, we yearn for it, we even 'name and claim' it. But, as usual, I ask the question, are you really ready for the harvest? To fully understand your readiness let us explore the path to the harvest, and what it will take to truly get to the place of harvest. I say this because harvest season is not as easy as it sounds, but let me hold my point for now. For the purpose of this blog, I took some time to read up on growing and harvesting grapes, mainly because the bible seem to have referenced the grapevine more than any other plant and Jesus specifically used the grapevine as a symbolism to explain the relationship we should have with Him (John 15:5). I always say, if the bible says it, there is always more to it to explore, than what meets the eye, so with the presence of the Holy Spirit, I set out to understand, what does it generally take to get to the harvest through the analogy of the grape crop. Because the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two edged sword (Hebrew 4:12), I have an expectation that the Holy Spirit will help me articulate that which He has divinely downloaded.
There are three facts about the grapevine I learnt from 'Google University' that I wanted to share with you. The first thing I learnt was that there are different grapes that serves best in different circumstances. This simply means that there are particular grapes that are best for wine, separate from the those types that are best for eating or for making jellies etc. Essentially, all grapes are grapes, but each kind serve a specific purpose better than others. This reminds me of the scripture passage in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27, which basically states that, each of us serve different purposes in the body of Christ but we are all a part of one body. Secondly, grapes must be planted in a place where they can get direct sunlight at least 6 hours a day, and thirdly for a better harvest crop, the vines must be consistently pruned, especially in the winter season where the grapevine is dormant, in order to reap the best harvest. I found the third fact particularly interesting, and will be the main point explored as I believe it is the part most integral to abundant harvest. Now that the main points of my 'bootleg' knowledge about the grapes and the vine are laid out, let me relay the download.
I learned that grapevines are generally grown in a slow, long process that can take a number of years to actually produce a single crop of grapes. Growing grapes therefore requires patience and endurance as you do not see any fruit on cultivated vines until years later. This is basically the path to the promise of harvest (Leviticus 25:3). The grapes sound just like us, doesn't it? You may ask why is the process so long? Let me explain, during the years that one does not see fruit on the grapevine, the vines are actually developing and producing branches to hold the massive fruit to come, once the process matures. In essence, the grapevine goes through a journey from being planted, getting at least six hours of sun daily and pruned for long seasons before a single grape comes from the crop, just like us!
What am I saying? In order to harvest something, a seed of a promise must be planted, that seed then has to be watered in us, through the word of God, worship and thanksgiving. While you are doing this, your roots start growing down; after some time, you find that you and I, who are the branches, become even more strongly attached to the vine, who is Jesus Christ (John 15:5). But! when you become branches, watch out, because pruning is at its height. As stated above, the process of pruning is the most important part of bearing much fruit on the grapevine. This 'pruning' for us usually hurts in one way or another, and sometimes happens at what seem to be the worst time. In the process of being pruned, we are sometimes stripped, different aspects of our lives are being cut off, and in some cases we are uprooted from familiarity. Everyone's pruning process is different, but for us all, it is necessary to bear fruit. During the winter season we tend to feel the pressure from the pruning. You may wonder what does the winter season look like? It is usually dry; when you are looking at the areas of your life and not seeing anything that screams life, you feel dormant, some of us if we are honest, feel dead inside. At this time, you are looking for the harvest, you are thinking you have endured enough, the land around you seem barren and you still continue to be clipped, pruned, sick in heart. But in this my friends, like the grapevine, you are being made ready, and the journey continues. Spring comes around and more sunlight is there, and deep down you think, ok now is my time, only to go through another summer, fall and winter; continuous pruning, your may see leaves, but still no fruit. You question, God, where are you? and deep down you are getting 'raw' with anguish, hurt, and possibly numb, because a couple years in, and you are still being prodded, clipped, sick in heart some more, yes, pruned. If we are honest, at this point, we want to 'burn the whole vineyard down', and give up on the promise, because we are not seeing any fruit. But like the grapes, it is at this time, our branches again, are being prepared for the abundant harvest. This means, the branches are at that time preparing specifically for the weight of the abundance of the harvest of grapes, which can go up to 10lbs. If the branches are not prepared for the weight of the fruit, what do you think will happen? The pruning and developing is indicative of the harvest. If the grapevine is not pruned and developed to the utmost capacity, then the harvest too will not be maximised.
Friends, just like the grapes, our process is long, slow and arduous, even sunlight that help us grow feels more like punishment. But, because we do not know the full extent of the harvest, we have to keep watch. The thief comes to kill, steal and destroy everything that is due to us (John 10:10). The enemy will make what God is giving us to increase our capacity, feel like a mountain of disfavour. When we look at the grapevine it gains its strength and development when the fruit is not yet seen. In essence, when it looks like nothing is happening, our strength is developing, our endurance and faith is tested (Hebrews 10:36), we are learning to stand when all we want to do is fall (Ephesians 6:13), and we learn to set our faces like a flint and run (Isaiah 50:7).
My final thought is this, when grapes go through the complete process of developing, the harvest is not only ripe, but it is full just like you and I will be. The God of Heaven loves us way too much to put a heavy harvest on weak branches, as that would make us self destruct. Do not ruin your path the promise of harvest, because of the lies of the enemy that says, nothing will come, or when he asks the question he asked Eve, Did God really say......(Genesis 3:1). The purpose of the enemy is to distract you from the harvest God promised you, he knows that the promises of God are yes and amen (2 Corinthian 1:20) and He knows God is not a liar and he is not slack concerning His promises (2 Peter 3:9) and he knows God can do what He said He will do(Numbers 23:19, Romans 4:21), so if he cant stop God or thwart God, that leaves only you. The enemy will distract you with lies, he will move in others to hurt you, all because he does not want you in the kingdom promise. Do not fall for the lies, do not fall in that trap, he is a liar, and just in case you forgot, he already lost. We already have the victory in Christ Jesus, so walk in that victory (2 Corinthians 15:57, Romans 8:35).
Deuteronomy 1:11 (NLT) says and may the LORD, the God of your ancestors, multiply you a thousand times more and bless you as he promised! So I ask this question again, Are you ready for the harvest? Will you give God your yes? I will leave you to answer that one. Until we speak again friends.....