Cultivating a Harvest Devotional

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener." -John 15:1-16

I have a little garden—and the emphasis is on the word “little.” This garden is tiny. It is small.

Though the garden is little, however, I am out my back door every chance I get to poke and prod, to watch and wonder. I am taking great care to cultivate my little patch of half vegetables and flowers, while constantly asking myself, “Am I providing enough water or what about those pesky weeds and pests?” I am looking forward to a bountiful harvest of good things to eat and beautiful treasures to behold.

In other words, I can barely wait to harvest the fruit of my efforts of love.

Sometimes as believers in Jesus, we can get a little impatient about our life’s harvests, especially the various fruit we hope for in arenas of our influence. The fields we tend may be our families, careers, ministries, dreams, or goals. Yet, with the Lord Jesus, it is the cultivating and nurturing of our relationship with Him that matters most. He knows that when we prioritize our time and affection in His felt presence and His Word, all the fields mentioned above will be fruitful and amazingly abundant.

The Lord calls this attention to fruitfulness “abiding in Him.”

Abiding in the vine of Jesus, according to the Apostle John, is the only pathway to a bountiful harvest. Instead of ramping up, strategizing, or obsessively pondering the roads to fruitfulness, Jesus calls us first and foremost to cultivate the soil of our lives as we graft ourselves into the power source of His life.

So, how do we receive God’s grand invitation?

To abide in Jesus means to remain in Him no matter how challenging life can get.

When life gets hectic or when challenges happen, we tend to take matters into our hands. We may feel God’s timing is too slow, so we act impulsively. We, instead, need to remain immovable in the security and safety of what He has told us and who He is.

To abide means to tend the garden of our souls just like I tend my little patch—carefully weeding out what is not helpful or healthy and removing pests or weeds that my adversary might throw my way. To carefully tend the soil of my soul means daily exposing all of me in complete surrender to Jesus’ presence and to the living water of the Holy Spirit. In other words, to abide means lavishing the love of God and listening carefully for His voice through His Word. It means cultivating my relationship with Him alone.

What is the promise Jesus gives as we nurture the branch of our lives into His life-giving vine? We harvest a love relationship with Him as deep as He has with our Father. We receive fruit that blesses our lives and gives Him glory. We reap a harvest that remains through thick and thin.

That is a garden worth tending. That is a harvest beyond anything we could think or imagine.