When Comfort Puts Pressure on Your Faith

There’s a sense of urgency tied up in the word, “harvest.”

When you hear it, you probably think as I do of beautiful foliage, delicious produce, and the cooler temps that come with the impending onset of winter. It’s winter that drives this urgency. Winter equals death for so many things: perennials, birds who don’t fly south, and my supply of vitamin D. But it also spells death for the fruits and vegetables planted many months prior.

Aside from this pressing nature, harvest also connotes hard work. Picking produce, reaping crops, and all its associated tasks are not for the faint of heart. There will be sweat.

Jim Wrigley Photography (CC)

When you combine these two elements the result is anything but comfort. Reaping is stressful, laborious, painstaking, but despite all this the harvest is intrinsically good. It represents months of hard work and the promise of surviving the frost until everything begins growing again in the spring. As such there is nothing to be done in the days of summer and autumn but to work the fields. And yet some have other ideas:

… he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame. (Prov. 10:5b, ESV)

Some disgraceful sons have the idea to seek out their own comfort rather than adhere to nature’s biological clock. Sleep is perhaps the antithesis of harvest because it consumes time and defies work. While this proverb is true in an earthly sense, what if you read it with a spiritual bent? What if you consider this verse in the context of Jesus’ reference to the harvest?

The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few… (Matt. 9:37b, ESV)

Why are they so few? Perhaps they’re sleeping.

Jesus was speaking in the metaphorical sense in which the harvest is composed of lost souls. And in view of the above proverb, let’s extend the metaphor. The father, of course, is God. Christians are the sons and daughters. Sleep is, well, anything but harvesting. So the question I suppose is this: are we bringing shame on our Father?

I get it. A warm bed is so much more comfortable than wielding a scythe. And potluck dinners are way easier to pull off than getting your neighbor in church. I’m not casting any stones; I suck at evangelism. But winter is coming whether we like it or not, and that should instill in us a sense of urgency.

In the proverb, the son doesn’t lose his sonship because he sleeps during the harvest; this isn’t a salvation issue. But Christians who don’t do anything about the ripe peaches falling from the trees or the wheat begging to be plucked—those who don’t care about the lost—bring shame on the Father. Nonbelievers look at that apathy, at our impetus for comfort, and assume that’s how the Father is: selfish and uncaring.

God has work for you to do. Are you ready to get out of bed?

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  1. Great post! Reminds me of the Kieth Green song Asleep in the Light.