It was May of 1829 when the Lord revealed to Joseph and Hyrum Smith the following truth:
“Yea, whosoever will thrust in his sickle and reap, the same is called of God” (D&C 11:4).
Notice that it doesn’t say “whosoever will work hard is called of God”, or “thrust in your sickle and you shall be called of God”. Working hard and thrusting in your sickle is certainly part of it; however, it is not all of it.
We must thrust and reap.
First of all, what is a sickle? A sickle is a handheld agricultural tool with a curved blade used for cutting crops such as hay. What does thrust mean? Thrust is a synonym for drive or force. Therefore, to thrust in your sickle is to use force to cut down crops with your sickle.
I believe that too often, we overlook the important second part of the equation which is to actually reap the rewards. We work and we work, then focus on working more instead of letting God congratulate us. This is not how He intended it to be. We know this because of the limitations He placed upon the sickle of our bodies. Do not run faster than you have strength.
So what does reaping look like then?
- For the missionary, it is maintained communication and follow-up contacts.
- For the creator, it is the time spent to go back and be impressed by his accomplishments.
- For the athlete, it is the confidence that all his preparation and work is actually worth something (hay is in the barn – probably cut down by a sickle).
- For the exhausted, it is a guilt-free rest.
We all know how to thrust in our sickles and work hard. But we must remember to take the time to reap. After all, what does the song say? Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing? What blessings are you entitled to? More than you think.
Thrust + reap = called of God. To be called of God is a rather intangible thing. May I suggest that in addition to considering ourselves assigned to a particular work, we simply recognize that He is calling us by name? Is that not what it means to be “called of God”? Sometimes, the comfort that He knows us and is proud of our work is harvest enough – a harvest that we are allowed to reap.