Harvesting in peace
And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:18
When I was about 13 or so, we had a garden. I learned two things in the couple of years that we had that garden. The first thing I learned was that, sometimes gardening is fun but mostly, it is hard work.
The hard work is not in the planting of the seeds, although it does take some effort to do that. Some seeds you can just place on the top of the soil and it works out ok, several, like corn you have to bury a little ways down. No, the hard part in gardening is not the sowing; it is the preparing of and the tending to the garden. Anyone can scatter seed and some of the seed will grow but not generally enough to outpace the weeds, animals, and what little you have that grows will not be that great, that tasty, that worth it.
The second thing I learned was that no matter how much I might want peas, if I planted carrots, I would get carrots. I would not get peas. You reap what you sow, and depending on how you tend to that garden, you may not reap much.
In life, we are always sowing and reaping. If we sleep late, we miss the interview and the job. If we study hard, we get a good grade. If we don’t save money, we have none in retirement. If we sow to the flesh, we shall reap the flesh; if we sow to the Spirit we shall reap the Spirit. God is not mocked (Gal 6:7-9)
James says that a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace. If you sow righteousness, you will reap righteousness. We should go about our business. We should tend to our garden. By preparing and weeding and watering it, the harvest will result. A man busy in the responsibilities of his own life will not have so much time to get involved in the affairs of another. He will neither take the time to judge him, nor meddle, nor gossip, nor quarrel. In other words, there is peace not war. Righteousness can be sown and harvested.
Since James did not write in chapters, verses, or paragraphs, I would ask the question: Which chapter does this verse go with? Let’s have it work double duty and go with both. Perhaps it is a transition between the thoughts of chapter 3 and 4.
First, if a person wants to be a teacher so badly, let him control his tongue, which also means his heart, the garden of his life in which his fruit (good or bad) grows. Gossip, slander, anger will not promote peace and without peace, righteousness cannot be sown, nor will it be harvested. Such incorrect uses of the tongue show that a person truly is not wise because, if a person can’t see those weeds in his own garden, how can he see clearly to pull the weeds in a brother’s garden. Besides, if you are so busy tending to your own garden, preparing, weeding, watering, you will be too busy to even notice when people are admiring your abilities and wanting to learn from you.
Second, the next chapter is going to show the problems this group of Christians had. There was fighting and jealously and overall, just a basic misunderstanding of the way God will work in their life. There was no peace. Certainly, no peace with God; they still wanted to be friends with the world. Their prayers were not answered. If you want to be righteous people, and more importantly, if you want people in the world to be able to see your good works (and glorify God), you need to learn how to get along. Not just with each other, but with God.