John 15:16 (NIV)
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit---fruit that will last---and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.
As we come into harvest season, it reminds me of the many lessons I have learned about sowing and reaping. There can be no harvest, of course, without the planting of and caring for the seeds that were planted. The farmer knows, through education and experience, that certain actions are needed throughout the growing season to insure that he has a crop to harvest in the fall. His tender seeds require water, warmth, cultivation and host of other needs to meet in order to attain the level of harvest he anticipated at planting.
Notice, the farmer doesn't simply plant the seeds and then leave them on their own, simply hoping for a good crop. Instead, he invests copious amounts of time and resources in the seeds he planted, all the while having great hope for an abundant future harvest.
I have to ask myself, daily, am I nurturing and caring for the seeds that I have planted? The prayers, offerings, gifts and time that I dedicate to the fulfillment of the Lord's purpose in my life are minimized in returns if not continuously attended to through continued prayer, thought and action.
Jesus tells us that He chose us specifically in order to bear fruit- fruit that will last- when we do so in His name. If I want my bountiful harvest to last, it is up to me to do the work required to achieve the result desired. This means personal accountability: spending time daily with Him; continuous fervent prayer for those people, things and opportunities that I have asked of Him in His name; frequent nurturing of the new "seeds" I have helped to plant in His kingdom.
My faith comes alive when I take on the farmer's mentality and realize that the fruit that I bear, fruit that will last, is a result of the time, energy and work that I put into it.