“He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow will return with songs of joy carrying his sheaves with him” Psalm 126:6
The surrounding wall of the large Huguenot tomb on the South side of the church building once collapsed and the remains of the deceased could be seen. It was quite a spectacle.
At Easter we are excited about the empty tomb of Jesus and my thoughts were directed to the tombs in ancient Egypt. It was common for notable people who died in Egypt to be encased in a tomb along with many of their earthly possessions. Most of such tombs attracted grave robbers who broke in and stole any valuables they could lay their hands on. In 1922 a strange incident occurred when the tomb of Tutankhamun was discovered and all was in place. The contents were removed and taken to a museum in Cairo but the mummified body of Tutankhamun was left in place. Amongst the items discovered in the tomb were casks of grains and seeds. Some seeds were placed in a glass container and stored in a controlled temperature. What then happened was that these seeds which were at least 3000 years old germinated and sprang to life.
This is a lesson for all of us involved in Christian work with which we can become impatient when there seems to be no discernible fruit. Serving the Lord can become hard work and the above text speaks of a sower going out “weeping” carrying seed to sow. In that text it is obvious that a time span elapses between sowing and reaping, we know the time of sowing but we cannot predict the time of reaping and when what we sow will bear fruit. The text is positive, it predicts a time when a definite harvest will one day come and great joy will be felt when fruitfulness occurs. Often those who sow seed in springtime may not be around to reap the harvest months later but the text suggests that the sower of the word of God will be the reaper of fruit. He who goes out reaping will return with songs of joy. A farmer or gardener has to be patient, he has to wait but he waits in expectation.
In the very first sermon I preached as a teenager I quoted the wonderful hymn below written by John Newton. It is worth repeating: –
1.Though in the outward church below
The wheat and tares together grow;
Jesus ere long will weed the crop,
And pluck the tares, in anger, up.
2. Will it relieve their horrors there,
To recollect their stations here?
How much they heard, how much they knew,
How long amongst the wheat they grew!
3. O! this will aggravate their case!
They perished under means of grace;
To them the word of life and faith,
Became an instrument of death.
4. We seem alike when thus we meet,
Strangers might think we all are wheat;
But to the Lord’s all-searching eyes,
Each heart appears without disguise.
5. The tares are spared for various ends,
Some, for the sake of praying friends;
Others, the Lord, against their will,
Employs his counsels to fulfill.
6. But though they grow so tall and strong,
His plan will not require them long;
In harvest, when he saves his own,
The tares shall into hell be thrown.
Every good wish
Ken Slater (Pastor)