by Rev. Antony W. Ball
You have not seen Him, yet you love Him;
and trusting in Him now without seeing Him,
you are transported with a joy too great for words,
while you reap the harvest of your faith,
that is, salvation for your souls.
1 Pet i 8,9 NEB
At a first reading, that phrase ‘harvest of your faith’ may sound mercenary, almost selfish – having faith is surely not supposed to enable us to reap some personal harvest of our own? Part of the problem is simply a translational one – our New English Bibles have used ‘harvest’ to translate the Greek word “telos”, more often translated ‘end’ or ‘outcome’. Peter was writing to people who had not known Jesus personally, like Peter himself had done, so they would not be able to share his experience – hence his comment “You have not seen Him …” In spite of those recipients of his letter not having seen Jesus, Peter was persuaded that they loved Him anyway and, more than that, they trusted Him…
…yet you love Him; and trusting in Him now without seeing Him…
…that combination of trusting Jesus without seeing Him – which is exactly what we all try to do, of course – is what enabled, indeed entitled them to…
…reap the harvest of your faith, that is, salvation for your souls.
That ‘harvest of your faith’ is not a harvest in the sense of any undeserved blessing, such as we sing thanks to God for at a harvest festival service; but it is a harvest in the sense of being the “telos”, the end, the consequence, the result, the outcome of that trusting of Jesus without seeing Him.