Too Many Thorns!

“The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”

Matthew 9:37-38 (NLT)

This cry has been echoed throughout the Church ever since Jesus issued this charge. Who will go? Who will work?

Many an individual has stepped forward and responded to the call. They will go and work in the fields. Some never make it to begin with. They were caught up in the fervor of the moment and once the crowd dissipates, the music fades and the lights go down, so does their desire to go and work in the fields.

Others eagerly report for duty and God places them in the field as He sees fit. They begin to work with zeal but then something happens. They discover that working in the field is hard work.

I grew up in the city but my parents were both from Iowa and they went back home often. As a result, I spent a lot of time in small towns as well as farms when I was growing up. When I was 13 years old I spent part of the summer in central Iowa walking beans with one of my cousins. Detasseling corn provided a bit better pay but we weren't quite tall enough to do that job. So, we headed to the bean field instead.

If you have never lived or spent much time in an area where soybeans are produced, you might not know what I mean when I say "walk beans". You can learn more about it here.

Anyone who has walked beans knows that it is hard work. The rows we walked were two miles long and the hot summer sun beat down us mercilessly as we slowly made our way through the mud chopping away at thick stalks of milkweed and dealing with cockleburs and other such weeds. It was back breaking work and my hands sweltered and ached in the gloves I wore to protect them from the thistles, cockleburs and of course blisters. Every year though, hundreds of people, particularly teenagers used to head for the fields to work for the summer. I earned $2.00 an hour in the summer of 1974 which wasn't too bad for a 13 year old at the time but I can tell you it was hard-earned money.

Cockleburs. I hate cockleburs. I have some painful memories from my childhood of discovering them attached all over me or someone else and having to gingerly pick them off. It is enough to make you want to leave the field isn't it. The field that seemed so warm and inviting suddenly is full of thorns and you want to do nothing more than go home and leave this thorny field behind you.There's a problem though. The Lord of the Harvest this is your section of the field and here you will stay until He says otherwise.

Now you have a choice. You can either rebel and walk off the job or you can grit your teeth and continue to work in the field. Walking down a row of soybeans is easy. Actually doing the work is hard. Are we willing to labor for God even if we encounter too many thorns?


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Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Photo credit: joeldinda via / CC BY-NC-SA

Les Braswell @doneuntotheleast ·


Enjoyed. Growing up in soybean country river bottoms along with being the state providing the highest production of rice. You analogy is "spot on." When the going gets tough, do I (we) remain and do as the Lord has directed.

Blessings in Christ,

P.S. - Remember the $2.00 and hour going to $2.35 in 1975

Beth M @blest ·

Never heard theterm, "walking beans", Very interesting!

And as always, a very good analogy!

Sarah Vm @godissogood ·

Thanks for an interesting blog! Walking beans is a new one on me! It strikes me as wise not to have made a career of it ... especially not at $2.00 an hour :mrgreen:

We do talk a lot about our weather being so grey, but reading this blog and the comments and comparing it with my own now-distant memories of helping on the farm at home, it would seem the clouds protected us from the hardship. Even our burrs seem to be less hostile - we used to actively go out looking for them to stick them on each other and laugh about it. Maybe the rain makes for friendlier breeds of 'em.

As a slight aside, I hear too often about accidents, injuries and deaths which have happened on the farm because people felt they had to 'get on with it' when all the signs said stop, or because people were so brave, so willing, they did something dangerous for the sake of getting a job done right now. I do think this point relates to God's work too. Sometimes we think we are being bold and courageous, only to realise our persistence has caused some damage. There are times I've felt disappointed for not saying or doing something, but what I regret more painfully are the times when with the very best intentions I pushed too far, and ended up doing harm instead of good.

Onwards and upwards, though. God has provided a good 'training manual' in His Word, forgiveness for our many failures through His Son Jesus, and the fruits of the Spirit to help us ... so yes ... only because He is good, I believe that "in due season we shall reap, if we faint not".

Thanks again, and God bless,



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