I recently had the privilege of taking a tour of Israel and Palestine and, unlike England, harvest time remains a large part of their culture. As I travelled up the country I noticed distinct changes in the land. We journeyed south of the country from Masada, up through Qumran to Jericho, and the land was noticeably barren. With the exception of a few oases, little was growing; the only crops I could see were olives and dates. As we made our way to the north of the country past Megiddo, Nazareth and Galilee, we noticed great vineyards and crops of bananas; the land full of long green grass and trees.
Israel and Palestine is a fascinating land, and just one of the reasons it has been fought over through history is the fertility of the earth. It’s amazing that even in the plains of Jericho you only have to add water for the land to come to life.
So why isn’t there life everywhere, if it’s so easy for things to grow? The answer is simple; there is only a certain amount of water to go around. In this country, whoever controls the source of the river Jordan, controls the land. And there are no prizes for guessing who controls that source.
It takes ten times the amount of water to grow grapes and bananas than it does olives and dates. And it is no accident very different crops are grown by the two sides of the border. Israel, in their well-managed land, don’t have to worry. Even the oases in the south belong to them.
I’m not making a political statement, I am stating a reality; there is only a certain amount of water to go around, and Israel has a responsibility to use it wisely.
We face a different situation for us – we only have a certain amount of time, and that’s the resource we need to use wisely. Sometimes we get the impression that all that matters as a Christian is that you go to church, home group, prayer meetings and members’ meetings. Oh, and also talk to your friends about Jesus.
This seems great at first, but then we realise we are just meeting hopping. Sharing Jesus with friends becomes more difficult when all you friends outside of the Church have vanished because you spend so much time in meetings. As important as these are, if we pour all of our time into them, other areas of our lives are bound to dry up, just like the land in Palestine. We only have a certain amount of time – how we choose to spend it is essential for a good harvest.
We are told that there will be an ultimate harvest one day when Christ returns. We will surely stand in front of him and have to give an account of our fruit. We may be surprised at what God considers to be the good crop. Did you know God values the work you do 9-5; He values the time you spend with your family; He values the relationships you build at the pub? Our entire lives should be an offering of worship. He values the relationships we have and the work we do, in the same way He values our attendance on Sunday.
Balancing our time is always difficult, but always worth reviewing to ensure we see all our life, in all its fullness, for the glory of God.