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Reaping a few thoughts from the law of the harvest

Progressive Cattleman Editor David Cooper Published on 22 September 2017

The law of the harvest is one of history’s simplest proverbs. It’s also one of the most misunderstood.

“For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” That’s the primary truth Paul gave to the Galatians in his Old Farmer’s Almanac wisdom. Loosely translated, Paul meant your work determines your results. How you care for the seed dictates how much fruit you will pick. How well you nurture the calf predicts how delicious the steak.

But today we seem to expect more harvest and less sowing of the seeds. Maybe it’s worth taking stock of what the law of the harvest is, and what it isn’t.

The law of the harvest is about accountability

Accountability is a harsh word in today’s world. We expect it from politicians, police officers, schoolteachers and our own kids. But its negative connotation isn’t deserved. Accountability allows us to take measure of what we have done and how far we have come. Any work we do that requires effort has its payoff. Whether we work or snooze, our effort will show our account.

The law of the harvest is not the tax code

Where Paul needs just a few lines to counsel on hard work and its reward, the tax code takes volumes of pages – and can sometimes leave you with a pittance for your labors. There is no progressive or regressive tax in the law of the harvest. No average tax rate or marginal tax rate.

Instead, what is reaped at the end of the season is a testimony to what you have put in. Whether in crops or in the herd, the growth of your bounty fully reflects the investment of labor.

The law of the harvest requires soiled hands

It’s one thing to believe the seeds will grow. It’s another to put action behind that faith. To till the soil, plant the seed, nurture and water the plant requires sweat from the brow.

Our harvest is much more satisfying when we have toiled in faith and left a measure of sacrifice in the field.

The law of the harvest isn’t just a material law

Let’s not ignore the other half of Paul’s teaching, which says, “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”

If we harvest for the sake of profit alone, we’re probably shorting ourselves of a spiritual harvest that comes from our labors.

I thought of this as I learned from a reader that cattlemen in Oklahoma and Texas, who had suffered cattle and grass losses last spring, were now sending hay and materials to the Dakotas and Montana to assist with fire recovery there. What better example is there of those who reap by the Spirit?

Whatever your harvest may be during the fall run, here’s hoping you take satisfaction in what you have sown and what you have reaped.  end mark

David Cooper
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