The cycle begins with strategic planning.

As you determine what crop to grow, one might consider many factors: climate, cost, appetite or even sale potential.

The agricultural cycle moves forward with soil preparation, followed by planting.  Planting is followed by consistent attention and care during the growth season.

Finally, growth is followed by harvesting.

Prepare, Plant, Protect, and Harvest.   So goes the cycle of agriculture; so goes the cycle of life.

I think it is interesting, though, how we readily accept this process as a circle when we apply it to our gardens but so often perceive it as a line when we apply it to our lives.

We know that we need to plant the seeds of this season’s harvest for the soil to bear fruit again.  We know that the harvest is not the end of the story when it comes to flowers, or vegetables.

But in our lives the process can feel more terminal.  After we have carefully chosen to plant what we would desire to reap – after we have so tenderly protected our investments as they’ve grown – isn’t it so tempting to harvest our reward and be done with it?

The concept of harvest is all over the Bible; from literal talk of the riches of the earth to metaphors meant to explain the labor and rewards of our faith.  But I wonder if the most significant message of harvest might be as simple as, “keep going”.

We are not created to live in perpetual harvest.  Harvest is an action, not a destination. It is essential to the fruit you will go on to bear in another season, even if along the way you determine that you need to change the crop.

What are we called to do with what we have sown?   I think that is a question we are called to ask many times in our lives.  The good news is that our God is ready with the answer:

Plant new flowers.

Don’t just grow; grow forward.