Harvest-time deeply satisfies. What started in the spring as a sack of withered seeds—after months of cultivation and care—yields a life-sustaining crop. Now, tender grapes cluster on low-hanging vines, juicy apples weigh down small branches, and fields of golden grain stand tall and proud, waving in the wind. Though fewer people earn their living on farms today, when most of us hear the word “harvest,” we still envision images of joyous in-gathering feasts and family celebrations. Full-to-the-brim grape crates, apple boxes, and grain bins make all the hard work worthwhile.
Sowing and Reaping
In Scripture, sowing and reaping are often compared to the cause-and-effect of our actions. “You reap what you sow” (Galatians 6:7-9). When we live to please the Lord, we harvest everlasting spiritual rewards.
At harvest season we finally taste, touch, and appreciate the fruit of our labors. Similarly, the spiritual investments we make now will produce an eternal harvest in heaven. 1 Corinthians 13:13 promises, “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” Genuine acts of faith, hope, and love are like spiritual “crops” that always yield a bountiful harvest.
Habits of spiritual sowing result in bountiful eternal harvests. “At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” (Galatians 6:9). Teach your kids the healthy habits of choosing faith instead of doubt, hope instead of despair, and love instead of fear and hatred. Here are ways to teach kids how to sow seeds of faith, hope, and love now—that will produce an eternal harvest:
Faith: Trust and Conviction of Truth
After planting seeds in the soil, farmers demonstrate faith that the sun will rise, the rains will come, and eventually they will harvest more grain than they planted. Similarly, believers demonstrate faith when our actions show conviction and confidence that God will come through.
The experience of Abraham and Sarah illustrates how living by faith works. Even after barren Sarah was too old to bear children, Abraham still believed God’s promise that he would become a father of many nations. “And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb” (Romans 4:19). And God came through!
Teach children they can trust the truth about God and about salvation. He will reward their personal faith. Beyond salvation, believers continue to walk by faith, trusting their future to their trustworthy heavenly Father. A life of faith has direction and purpose. When students align their actions with truths from God, their daily choices delight and please Him!
4 Ways to Sow Faith:
- Choose to follow Jesus and embrace His salvation (Romans 10:9).
- Meditate on God’s trustworthy, faithful character. Thank the Lord for His provisions each day (Psalm 145:4-7).
- Review examples of faithful men and women from Scripture.
- Choose God—not circumstances—as the foundation for faith (Hebrews 11).
Hope: Optimism about Future Opportunities and Outcomes
Our world is aching for hope. Fear and anticipation of evil seem to override any natural optimism. Hope, demonstrated by joy in all circumstances, reaps a bumper harvest. Hope dissipates worry during periods of uncertainty; hope gives strength when facing personal tragedy. Like watching a suspenseful movie, we can remain confident, knowing “it’s going to be okay” in the end.
Cultivate hope by tasting and seeing that the Lord is good. “Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls” (Hebrews 6:18-19). Through Christ, we can anticipate the most wonderful outcome!
Teach children that God is their hope. Through the Lord, they can enjoy optimism about future opportunities and outcomes. Hope is, at its root, anticipating a “good ending.” Kids can joyfully and confidently expect to see God’s goodness.
4 Ways to Sow Hope:
- Write down the wonderful promises in God’s Word (Matthew 28:20, John 14:26-29, 1 Corinthians 1:7-9).
- Regularly remind yourself of the reality of heaven (Matthew 28:28-30, John 14:1-4, Revelation 21-22).
- When describing your circumstances, choose hopeful words. Share hardship authentically, but always affirm God’s ultimate game plan (Psalm 27:13-14).
- Avoid complaining. Grumbling is a magnet for more complaints; avoid passing negative perspectives on to others (Philippians 2:13-16).
Love: Unfailing Affection and Devotion for People
God is love. God selflessly seeks the very best for His beloved. God’s heartfelt concern motivates Him to action on behalf of others. In keeping with the analogy of sowing and harvesting, love is the “heirloom” crop—the most valuable and most cherished prize. “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” (1 Corinthians 13:7).
This resilient, persevering love comes only from God. In an age where relational mudslinging and social media jabbing run rampant, expressing genuine, unconditional love is especially important. Knowing the width, length, and depth of the Lord’s love enables us to offer compassion and kindness to friends as well as enemies. John writes, “Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God” (1 John 3:18-19).
Teach children that sowing selfless love almost always produces a bountiful crop. Love transforms lives, reconciles enemies, revives churches, and glorifies God!
4 Ways to Sow Love:
- Quickly forgive. Bring each offense to Jesus, allow Him to comfort you, and release judgment of the offender (Matthew 6:14-15, 1 Corinthians 13:4-5)!
- Ask for God’s compassion and heart for people. Pray for His vision to see people as He does. (John 13:34-35).
- Demonstrate love in action. Serve your immediate friends and family in practical ways (1 John 3:16-19).
- Encourage others often! Use words that instill hope and courage. Point out specific reasons you love, appreciate, and enjoy someone (Romans 15:5-7).