WE PLOW THE FIELDS, AND SCATTER
Matthias Claudius, 1740–1815
Translated by Jane M. Campbell, 1817–1878
Yet He has not left Himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; He provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy. (Acts 14:17)
The Scriptures have many important lessons to teach us about harvests. One of these lessons is that there is always a waiting time between the planting of the seed and the gathering of the fruit or grain. This is true in spiritual matters as well. God often has to give us a waiting period for the full bloom of the Spirit’s fruit to be produced in our lives. The lesson of patience must be learned when sharing God’s love with others.
We can also learn from the harvest that a planted seed must first die before it can spring forth in new life. The way to personal spiritual fruitfulness is first death to self-centeredness (Matthew 10:30). Another truth is that a bountiful harvest is directly proportionate to the amount of sowing that has been done. “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Corinthians 9:6). And finally, harvesting is a cooperative affair. We may spread the seeds of the gospel and cultivate and water the spiritual soil in an individual’s life, but ultimately it is God who gives the harvest (1 Corinthians 3:6, 9).
“We Plow the Fields, and Scatter” first appeared in Germany in 1782 and was known as “The Peasants’ Song.” It was part of a dramatic sketch portraying a harvest festival in a farm home in northern Germany. It first appeared in England in 1861.
We plow the fields, and scatter the good seed on the land, but it is fed and watered by God’s almighty hand; He sends the snow in winter, the warmth to swell the grain, the breezes and the sunshine, and soft refreshing rain.
We thank Thee, then, O Father, for all things bright and good, the seed-time and the harvest, our life, our health, our food; no gifts have we to offer, for all Thy love imparts, but that which Thou desirest, our humble, thankful hearts.
Chorus: All good gifts around us are sent from heaven above; then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord for all His love.
For Today: Genesis 1:11–18; 2:4, 5; Psalm 57:9–11; Isaiah 55:10, 11; Hebrews 11:3; James 1:17
“But that which Thou desirest, our humble, thankful hearts.” Is there a spiritual harvest in my life? Am I contributing to a harvest time in the lives of others? Reflect on this musical truth as you go—