Amber Waves of Grain

I’ve learned a lot about farming since I retired. Much has come from reading and studying the science of farming. When I combined that learning with the common sense guidance of many “old timers”, it has helped me to produce some amazing harvests. Take winter wheat for example. Managed correctly, you can use it to pasture cattle on during the winter, and still get a good hay or grain harvest if you don’t allow it to be over-grazed.

When I introduced some of my experienced farming friends to the Feekes scale, it helped them identify a more exact maturation stage of their wheat; allowing them to better plan the harvest. One lesson I took from understanding the wheat maturation process was how it resembles how we grow as Christians. Like the wheat plant shown below, we Christians mature in stages.

In learning how to read and understand what growth stage my wheat was in, the Holy Spirit guided me to a wonderful blessing I want to share with you. He brought the words of Mark 4:28-29 (NKJV) to life. “For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

In “America the Beautiful” we sing about the amber waves of grain. How many of you know what it means when wheat turns that beautiful amber color, and what it signifies? When a wheat plant changes from green to amber, it’s a signal that the fruit has ripened and the grain is ready for harvest. Here’s something I bet a few of you don’t know.

The wheat plant changes color because its life is spent from producing its fruit. There’s nothing left. Its life cycle has ended. In fact, at Feekes Stage 6, an interesting phenomenon happens. As the wheat plant matures, more of the plant’s energy goes to producing fruit than to sustaining its life. At Feekes Stage 10.3, you can split the stem and up to 90 percent of it will be hollow! The plant next reaches the first of three Stage 10.5 conditions, called the “Flowering Stage.” This is when the wheat head produces tiny yellow flowers (called Anthers); first in the middle, then at the top, and finally the entire plant head. During this stage, the plant pollinates itself and begins the grain-producing process.

When pollination has occurred, the tiny yellow flowers (anthers) turn white, and the fruit begins the four stages of ripening. It is during Stage 11 that the wheat plant consumes all its remaining energy. When fully ripe, the grain becomes hard with very little moisture content. It is then ready for the harvest.

As I prayed about that process, I couldn’t help but ask the Holy Spirit to confirm my lesson. My prayerful question was this; “Lord, as a Christian am I meant to give my life in service to you as I produce fruit for Your harvest?”

“If so Lord, I fall so short. Please help me mature my faith so I may give You the maximum harvest Father.”

It was at that moment when God gave me the biggest “Heart Hug.” I felt reassured that while I may never reach Feekes Stage 11.4 during this short human life, God promises to complete me at the coming rapture. He will then reward me for the good, lasting fruit He has produced in me.

The maturation of wheat resembles our growth as Christians. Are you producing anthers yet? Click To Tweet

As a Christian, I can’t think of a better metaphor than to have spent my life maturing and producing spiritual fruit that has helped lead others to Christ. I pray you’ll join me in this quest.

God’s blessings,

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50 thoughts on “Amber Waves of Grain

  1. Wonderful example for each Christian to see and know. some Christian I know are old, hollow, and bent over, but the seeds are missing. Others hold a full weight for His Glory and Honor. Oh Lord, help this ol’ papa know my anthers and be fruitful for you and amen.
    Ol’ papa

    1. Thank you Mr. Terry. “Your anthers are showing” my friend. 🙂 With every post you make, every word of encouragement you speak, you spread just a little bit more of God’s light into this world.

  2. J.D., your amazing scientific explanation leads me to long for more maturity in Christ as I serve Him. As a result of your words, surely guided by the Holy Spirit, I’m asking God to show me areas of immaturity in faith as I trust the truth in Philippians 3:15. Thank you.

    1. I hope not too scientific Ms. Jeannie, but I think you’re takeaway matches my own ma’am. I have so much more growing to do. I thank God He is a patient teacher. Thank you so much for commenting and sharing ma’am.

    1. Thank you so much Ms. Ann. I’m glad you enjoyed ma’am. You teach me so very much about nutrition and health through your 3-D Vitality blog, it’s good to give a little knowledge back my friend. God’s blessings.

  3. J.D. what a wonderful way to begin this day. Thank you. I’ve purposed to begin the final draft of Book 3 in the Master’s Plan Series today.

    Father, like you’ve done with J.D.’s explanation of the growth and harvest of wheat, comparing that with our growing to maturity in You, may Your Spirit guide me this day to illustrate and repeat Your truths to the children and their parents so they too may blossom, in their season, to become a fruitful harvest for the King!

    Thank you, J.D. May your words cause all of us to carefully consider the illustrations God has placed all around us to spur our growing up in Jesus.

    1. Will be praying for your Master’s Plan Series through publication Ms. DiAne. Lots of prayers and blessings ma’am. Thank you for being so willing to share God’s light in this world.

  4. I’m a farm girl from waaaay back, but I learned some lessons today–not just about wheat! Thanks for sharing the stages of wheat and the comparison to our journey of faith. As always, I think the lessons we glean from nature are so profound. I’m thankful that God keeps working on us–that we are given more than one season to mature. And, thank you for the reminder that this is the season for us to be a witness for Jesus, that we might be a part of the growth process for others. Wishing you continued blessings my friend.

    1. You’re too young to be from “waaaay back” Ms. Katherine; but it’s always wonderful to learn new lessons each day isn’t it ma’am. So glad you enjoyed. Praying “Farmer Bob” gets to hear it, and agrees. He’s one of those wise older farmers I’ve come to depend upon for knowledge and understanding too. 🙂

  5. JD I loved this illustration and the encouragement that we are in stages to reach a harvest. When I visited my daughter in Idaho, I did not see potatoes, but the amber waves of grain–field upon field. I have never forgotten their beauty, never hear “America the Beautiful” without remembering that, and now will take to heart your vivid illustration of my desire for continued growth and responsibility.

    1. Awww… am glad I was able to bring back a nice memory for you Ms. Marilyn. I love how God teaches us through nature. I just asked my Ms. Diane today if she’s ever considered how God uses all things in the natural world He created to point us to how we are supposed to grow and live? She said I think too much. 🙂 God’s blessings ma’am. I’m glad we’re all on this growth journey together ma’am.

  6. This messages makes me think of how I have grown in my faith over the years. I am thankful God placed mentors in my life to guide me along my faith journey. Each person God placed in my life helped me mature and be able to show His love and glory to others.

  7. J. D., You always seems to blog about things right up my alley. I used to design rotational grazing systems for people that only pastured the way their forefathers did it.
    Here’s another interesting thing to think of, The seed in the seed head is meant to be harvested. As the life force is transferred to the seedhead, the top gets heavier. “Lodging” happens when a storm comes and knocks the plant down to the ground. The unharvested seed is forced to the ground and some of it might be replanted depending on the seed to soil contact. Whereas if it was harvested, almost all of it would be either planted or used for feeding something else.
    God will keep use the seeds even if we don’t. However, if we share it, and carry it to fertile , prepared ground, it will produce more!
    John 3:30 “He must increase, but I must decrease”

    1. We for sure share a kindred spirit for all things natural my friend. Another post with lots of lessons we can draw from it. What a mighty God we serve! 🙂 Thanks for sharing this great insight Mr. Ben.

  8. I admit, I had no idea what “Amber waves of grain” means. Such a wonderful post learning about all the stages of wheat plants. And love the analogy that the fruit has ripened and grain is ready for harvest.

    I’m asking myself, “Lord, as a Christian am I meant to give my life in service to you as I produce fruit for Your harvest?”

  9. Rich words my friend. As I was reading, it dawned on me that in order to bear it’s fruit, the plant must yield it’s own life. The verse about dying to self to follow Christ (bear fruit) comes to mind.

  10. I’m joining you in this quest, J.D. You’ve opened my eyes to so many truths through your farming metaphors. I smile the entire time I read your posts because I know the words are a result of your time with Him. I’ll never look at wheat or sing “Amber waves of grain” the same ever again. God bless you!

    1. Your kind words humble me Ms. Cathy. I read your words, bowed my head, and thanked God for bringing me such wonderful and encouraging friends who never fail to lift my spirits. I thanked Him for trusting me with His Word and for helping me share the lessons He is teaching me. I’m so glad you and so many others receive value too ma’am. It makes us want to do more for His kingdom doesn’t it ma’am. Shining just a little brighter today because of your kindness. God’s blessings ma’am.

  11. I was born and half raised in Kansas, the bread basket of the world, and I never learned the growth cycle of wheat. It is interesting how so much of God’s world can be directly compared to our Christian lives. Following that train of logic, if the Christian does not get the nourishments required to grow in our walk of sanctification (Gods word) we will wither and die spiritually just as the wheat will without rain or good soil.

    1. I knew you were a “country boy” Mr. Monty, which is one of the reasons I liked you so much when y’all were in Cooper (that and the fact that you are a Christian who cares about others). Didn’t know you grew up in the “Land of Ahhs” though. Isn’t it remarkable how nature can show us so many things about how God wants us to live? It’s almost like we’re part of a grand design isn’t it? As though we were created by a Master. 🙂

  12. I love this post, J.D. I can see the golden rows of wheat bending in the wind as you describe the plants. How I want to become mature and fruitful! Thank you for this beautiful picture, friend.

    Peace and grace,
    Tammy

  13. I agree with and add my voice to your prayer, J.D.
    “Lord, as a Christian am I meant to give my life in service to you as I produce fruit for Your harvest?”

    “If so Lord, I fall so short. Please help me mature my faith so I may give You the maximum harvest Father.”

    Thanks for another marvelous lesson.

    1. OMGoodness. What a kind and gracious thing to say Pastor Stephanie. I pray each day that folks see Christ more than they see me. I don’t often succeed at that, but the victory comes in resolving to try each day and never giving up doesn’t it ma’am. I too am so thankful our God loves us enough to be patient with us and not give up. I think He acknowledges the effort, because His blessings just keep coming. You just shared one with me ma’am. God’s blessings!

  14. One of your last comments caused me to think of Philippians 1:6. “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (I’m happy this post didn’t bring me to tears.) Blessings, J.D.

    1. Amen Ms. LuAnn. What a perfect verse to sum up the many lessons I have taken from this. I’m so glad you didn’t cry my sweet friend. Sometimes I forget what a gentle heart God has given so many of my readers. Am pleased you enjoyed ma’am. God’s blessings.

    1. Awww… thanks Ms. Candyce. Have been trying to follow your lead ma’am. I’m so glad to know I’m not alone in the need to apply this to my life more. Stay safe and well my sweet friend.

  15. Another great lesson from you. I did not know that wheat went through these stages. I had a strange secondary thought when I read “more of the plant’s energy goes to producing fruit than to sustaining its life”. Matthew 12:33. This makes me think of some people who put a lot of energy into producing “bad fruit”, if you will.

    1. WoW! What a great lesson you took from this Ms. Robin. I hope you don’t mind, but I plan on sharing this one with others ma’am. A great many folks can spend their lives putting all their energy into producing “bad fruit.” What an important reminder that we need to ask God to give us quality checks now and again. I can see the Holy Spirit wearing a Hanes(tm) visor now, saying “It doesn’t say Godly until I say it says Godly.” 😀 Thank you for sharing this inspirational thought with us here young lady.

    1. Thank you Ms. Emily. I have come to thrive on getting this “heart hugs” too ma’am. Am so happy you enjoyed the post ma’am; and thank you (and everyone) for sharing. God’s blessings ma’am.

  16. This is such a great visualization of spiritual growth. We need to sacrificially give of ourselves and our fleshly wants in order to bring the Kingdom to fruition.

  17. As always J.D., I love your application. How cool is it that the amber waves we think are so beautiful are the nearly worn out wheat plants that have given all their energy to producing fruit. May I be one, Lord.

    1. I feel “worn out” a lot at the end of most days, but I think myself “maturing.” Now, if I can only surrender more so God can produce more fruit. Like the wheat plant, I too want to be All Used Up when God gathers His harvest. God’s blessings ma’am.

  18. J. D. your thoughts reminded me of Paul’s words for the older women to teach the younger. Perhaps that parallels the wheat cycle. Enjoyed learning about wheat and thinking of what it means to mature in Christ.

    1. Absolutely Ms. Debbie. I think all Christians should endeavor to pass on all the fruit to others. I am reminded of how seeds are sown my friend; sometimes they simply fall to the ground. I have clover in places I’m certain I never intentionally planted clover. We must be just like the Texas bluebonnets I love so much.

  19. My southern grandmother sent me some cotton seeds. I’m almost positive that cotton had never been grown in Rhode Island before. When the time for frost was nearing, I was afraid my plant would die prematurely, so I dug it up, stuck it in a pot, and brought it inside. It died anyway. But then a marvelous thing happened — the boll burst open to reveal the snowy white cotton inside! Like your wheat, my plant gave its life to produce fruit. May there be an abundance of fruit credited to our account at the harvest!

    1. Amen Ms. Lori. Sometimes, and I pray this daily in my case, we can impact others on this earth by sowing seeds we didn’t even realize we were sowing. We do so with every kind word or act we give to others. We do when we share the light of Christ in our lives with others, not even realizing we’ve done so. Oh how I want to be surprised to see souls in heaven that I helped prepare God’s harvest for. What a great reminder ma’am that our task is to plant the seed, God provides the yield and makes the harvest. As for cotton. Did you know that it must be defoliated before harvest? I think perhaps your little plant was doing exactly what God created it to do. You’re right though, cotton does not like the cold. 🙂 Neither do I.

  20. Thanks for another wonderful lesson. As always you are able to bring everything back to God. I feel as though I am still just a sprout and pray daily for a stronger faith. May I one day be ready for harvest.
    Thank you, God bless you and keep you and Diane healthy and happy. Joyce

    1. Right?! I’m right there with you most days Ms. Joyce. Every time I think I’m growing closer, I’m understanding more, I’m feeling more confident in my ability to be a good witness for Christ, I’m reminded of just how much further I have to go. It’s not always as easy journey my friend, but it sure is a worthwhile one ma’am. God’s blessing dear sister.

  21. I’m a little late getting here this week, J.D, but what a fascinating lesson. (And some folks say Christians “don’t like science.”) The Lord speaks through His Word and through His world, and we prayerfully have to learn to read both. I’m so glad you have that ranch so you can share your observations from the Holy Spirit with us.

    1. Thank you Ms. Dottie. Our Creator God most definitely speaks to us; we just need to open our hearts and listen my friend. I’m glad we have the Cross-Dubya too ma’am. It’s been an amazing journey of discovery, learning, and growing as I feel closer to God out here working His land than I think I ever have in my life. God’s blessings; and thank you so much for commenting ma’am. I sure appreciate all the comments and encouragement.

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