The Law of the Harvest
Devotional or Speech given at
Brigham Young University-Hawaii
December 15, 2012
Steven C. Wheelwright
At this long awaited and wonderful time of “commencement” in your life, Sister Wheelwright and I extend to you our congratulations and our love. We are grateful for all that you have accomplished during your time here at BYU-Hawaii. And we join with all of those in attendance today to honor you and your accomplishments.
I want to take a few moments at this time to talk with you about one of the eternal laws that will be central to your happiness and success in the coming months and years and into eternity. We hope that during your time on this campus that you have learned much about this law and that you have developed and refined the habits that will enable this to be a foundation in all you do going forward. The law I refer to is the law of the harvest.
I love the way that Elder Hales, speaking to a group of young people, set the stage for a simple yet powerful definition of this law. He began by telling the story of his experience as a teenager when one summer he left the city to work on a ranch with his uncle Frank. He learned firsthand the hard work required to bring about the annual harvest. As he recorded,
“I can remember the feelings [I had] when I first realized that an enormous amount of preparation was necessary before the crops were brought in. We had to plow, harrow, plant, cultivate, weed, irrigate, and then continue to cultivate, weed and irrigate, endlessly it seemed…. I learned the law of the harvest.”
Elder Hales then provided the following definition, “The law of the harvest is simply that you don’t get something for nothing in life.” He continued, “The scriptures tell us the law of the harvest is that as you sow, so shall ye reap.” Elder Hales then quoted Galatians 6:7, which reads, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Elder Robert D. Hales, “Channeling Your Creativity,” Ensign, February, 2004.)
Many of you may be able to recall similar experiences to those of Elder Hales when you first realized the truth and pervasiveness of the law of the harvest – that in this life you don’t get something for nothing; you reap what you sow. For some that may have occurred long before you came to this campus, perhaps when working side-by-side with a friend or relative as you were growing up, or while participating in a sport, or perhaps while serving as a full-time missionary. But certainly for all of you, the truth of this law has become evident during your studies at BYU-Hawaii.
During your time here you have expended considerable time, energy and resources as you have sought to become the learners, leaders and builders that President McKay envisioned at the groundbreaking for this campus. You have worked hard – sowing and planting - in many dimensions of your life these past few years. You’ve done homework, part-time work, church work, family work, service work and missionary work. Many of you have worked at learning and planting in a field of academics new to you, as well as learning new physical skills, mental skills and spiritual skills. And some of you have worked hard to learn new skills as a spouse or as a parent. Hopefully, through all of these experiences, you have become convinced that the law of the harvest, along with its companion principle of hard work, is immutable and eternal.
As you have engaged in these various types of work, we hope that you have come to understand and appreciate the power and pervasiveness of the law of the harvest. As the scriptures point out, we reap what we sow (Gal. 6:7). But we also learn from the scriptures that if we sow sparingly, we will reap sparingly, whereas if we sow bountifully, we shall reap bountifully (2 Cor. 9:6). In addition, the scriptures teach that if we sow on good ground, as opposed to on barren, stony or weed-infested ground, our harvest will increase thirty, sixty and an hundred fold (Mark 4:1-9). And finally, though earth and hell combine against us, if we sow righteousness and are built upon the rock of our Savior, we will prevail in the end (D&C 6:33-34).
I would invite each of you graduates to think for a few moments about those courses where you have learned the most and made the most rewarding progress during your time on this campus. That is, think about those areas of study where you have already begun to experience a bounteous harvest of knowledge, understanding, and insight. As you consider the conditions and diligence that have led to such engaging and energizing growth in your learning, I’m sure you will find that the key conditions and characteristics contributing to that progress are those associated with the law of the harvest. Such are the promises and power that we gain when we fully observe and live the Lord’s laws.
Our hope for each of you as you go forth is that you will continue to deepen and broaden your understanding and application of the law of the harvest. We pray that whether in your marriage, your family, your career or in serving in the kingdom, that you will sow righteously on prepared and fertile soil. That in due time you may reap the promised harvest of thirty, sixty or an hundred fold because your efforts have been founded on the sure foundation of our Savior and have been done in accordance with His laws and doctrine. Such is our hope and prayer for each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.