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I grew up in Wellington, Kansas which is a small farm town of about 8,000 people located 30 miles south of Wichita, Kansas. Wellington’s big claim to fame is being the Wheat Capitol of the World. The farmers of my home town produce more wheat per capita than anywhere else in the world. When you leave the city limits you can drive for miles and miles and see nothing but wheat fields and farmhouses. Everyone in town talks about the harvest and everyone is affected, either directly or indirectly by the harvest.

Every year since 1900, they have celebrated the end of the harvest during the second week of July with what they call the "Wheat Festival". That’s when the Carnival comes to town and everybody gets sick by eating too much cotton candy and funnel cakes and then taking a ride on the scrambler or tilt-a-whirl. They have the big Wheat Festival Parade. They even have a Beauty Pageant where they crown the Wheat Queen who goes on to compete for the title of Miss Kansas and if she wins there she goes on to the Miss America pageant. IT’S BIG STUFF! And if that’s not enough, all the farmers have a contest to see who can grow the biggest and best head of wheat. They even have a craft show where you can buy almost anything made out of wheat. You can get Wheat Picture Frames, Wheat belt buckles, Wheat straw hats. I think you can even get remote control woven out of wheat straw... Well... maybe not. But you name it and they’ve probably got it, or at least they’ve tried to make it. It is absolute madness.

They do all of this in order to celebrate the completion of the harvest. People come from miles around to be a part of this great and grand celebration. You see, the Wheat Festival means that harvest is over, the wheat is in the grain elevators, the past years work has finally been completed, and most importantly, the profits are in the bank. At least the farmers hope they made a profit anyway. Those farmers work hard all year long solely for the Harvest. They plow their fields, plant and fertilize their crops and spray them with insecticides, and then they wait until finally it comes time for the harvest. Usually around the end of May or the first of June those Wheat fields start to turn from a beautiful deep green color to a rich golden brown. When those fields are turning golden the farmers are getting anxious, because that means the wheat is getting ripe. A farmer will often go out and walk through his fields inspecting the crops to see if the harvest is ready. Each day he worries about whether or not there’s been enough rain. A drought can scorch the crops, but too much rain is no good either. Too much rain will make the fields so muddy that they can’t get their combines in without getting stuck. Every time a storm cloud blows in he worries about hail because one hailstorm can wipe out a whole crop. The farmer’s around my hometown will do all they can to harvest all their wheat before the Fourth of July, because one stray fire cracker can set a field on fire causing the entire years work and all that investment to go up in flames. Therefore, as soon as the wheat is ripe, and the weather is right, the farmer will go out and hire all the workers he can afford to hire. They fire up the combines and trucks and they move into the fields harvesting the grain. They will work from the crack of dawn till well after sundown. Many of today’s modern combines are equipped with bright lights all around so they can work all night long if they have to. They don’t waste a moment of time and often work non-stop until the harvest is complete.

I. Having said all of that, we look in Matthew chapter 9, where we find Jesus much like the farmer anticipating the harvest. Matthew creates a picture of Jesus walking through the fields and inspecting the crops.

From a sermon by Timothy Cole, The Harvest, 5/19/2012

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