Reaping the Harvest of Perseverance

My boys chattered loudly as we walked through the park. A small lump near the middle of the dried grass drew our attention, and we turned that way. Our eyes widened – we had never seen a turtle outside of a zoo before, and here was one in the middle of the park. 

But it was not there by accident.

We sat nearby to watch, and the turtle slowly stuck one back leg into a small hole. As we leaned closer, we could hear a scratching, then the foot came back out, carrying a tiny foot full of mud. The other leg went in, scratched, and pulled out another foot full. 

reap the harvest of perseverance

With calm and deliberate moves, this mama turtle was digging a hole for her eggs. 

An eagle screeched overhead, and we looked up to see it land on a nearby tree. My kids panicked. If the eagle snatched up all her eggs right after she laid them, or snatched up the babies as they waddled to the pond, all her work would be in vain. But the turtle kept on digging, without even an upward glance. We were impressed by her perseverance.

The harvest we receive is everlasting life. - Christie Thomas

This turtle could have bemoaned her low position on the food chain. She could have looked at other animals and wished for speedier legs. She could have chased after an easier life, or nicer things – frankly, plastic egg cases or bodyguards for her hatchlings could be useful.

Rather, she continued to do the good work of making a hole for her eggs, because this is how God created her.

Some of those turtle eggs will hatch, some will not. Some will make it to the pond, and others will not. Some will be food for the eagles or other animals, others will live to lay eggs of their own.

Ecclesiastes 6:9 reminds us to “enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless—like chasing the wind.”

Don’t we often forget to live like this turtle? Rather than calmly and deliberately using the gifts and blessings God has given us, we look at others and wish we had what they had. We wish for speedier (or slimmer) legs, for flashier outsides, for an easier life, or even to be someone else entirely.

But God has given us a promise in Galatians 6:7-9:

You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.

What are we sowing today?

Are we sowing seeds that please our own flesh? Chasing nice things, or nice thighs, or nice titles? Those are investments that will satisfy only our own sinful nature, and will lead to a harvest of decay and death, even if they look bright and shiny in this world.

Or, are we sowing to please the Spirit? Galatians reminds us that when we sow the seeds of perseverance, we will reap a harvest of blessing in due time.

What is this harvest of blessing?

Is it an easy life? Is it a famous life? Is it an impactful life? 

Nope. The harvest we receive is even better than all those!

The harvest we receive is everlasting life.

Not just in the spiritual dimension, but here, now. Our hope isn’t just a future hope that someday we will die and go to heaven. No, our hope is already here. We have everlasting life in the future, but we also have it now.

The task given to me is to stay in my own lane. If I was made to be a turtle digging holes for eggs, I should dig those eggs with gratitude in my heart. If, in the more likely scenario, I was made to be a woman planting seeds of grace in her family and friends, I should plant those seeds with gratitude. I should not become weary of doing good, of digging that hole, of raising that child, of leading that Bible study.

And the key to not becoming weary in these tasks is to approach all of life with gratitude, to enjoy what I have been given, rather than chase the wind. 

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