Lenten Reader | Day 11

Sowing & Reaping

“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”

John 4:34-38
Food! What a glorious thing! Food is arguably one of the most consistent pleasures of life! What could be better than a hot, savory stew and homemade sourdough bread on a cold winter’s night? Or think about the icy sweetness of an ice cream cone or cold watermelon on a warm summer evening. Christmas cinnamon rolls and Thanksgiving turkey! Food gives comfort and elevates our celebrations. Cooking and baking are creative outlets, and it can be a gesture of love and caring for friends and family. It is even a gesture of love towards our pets. Lucy, my Labrador, monitors every crumb in the house with great diligence, and it is hard to resist those big brown eyes!  
So, as you can tell, I am a pretty big fan of food. I like making it and eating it. But beyond all the tasty fun, food is a fundamental necessity of all biological life. It is absolutely essential, and our bodies cannot go long without it. Famine and starvation send people to the brink of desperation and despair. Deprived of sustenance, even civilized people are driven to behavior that will trump all morality – theft, murder, and cannibalism, to name a few.  
Jesus compares the spreading of the gospel message to sowing seed and reaping a crop. It was an illustration His contemporaries would have been very familiar with. They lived in an agrarian society tied to the seasons and the soil. Entire populations lived or potentially died according to the whims of the weather or crops thriving or failing. Talk about food insecurity! “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” Wow. Is God’s will a fundamental essential in my life that I can’t do without? Is it a daily driving source of meaning, pleasure, and sustenance? Vegan, Paleo, Keto. In modern times we are obsessed with diets, but I think I need to be more mindful of my spiritual nutrition.  
Kathy Bates