Winnowing Wheat: Picture of the Greatest Harvest

Winnowing Wheat

A Memory from My Youth

It was time for wheat harvest. The days were very hot. Dad and Uncle Finley kept a close watch on the fields so that the wheat could be harvested at just the right moment.

They also kept a close watch on the sky. A hard rain and/or high wind could ruin the crop. That is a fearful thing for a farmer.

Wheat heads are ripening fast.
(Photo by Alejandro Brown.)

I can still see Uncle Finley eating grains of wheat as he leaned back against a wall.  He would take the wheat tops and rake the seeds out into his hand and eat them.

As a child I was curious. I remember asking Uncle Finley why he was eating the seeds. He told me that the seeds were wheat and placed some in my hand and told me to eat them.

I looked at him strangely.  I thought, ‘I have never eaten these seeds. Will they hurt me?’

Uncle Finley started telling me that the seeds were what we used to make our bread.  In order to convince me, he also told me of other foods we make with wheat.

Yes, I ate the seeds.  They were hard, of course, yet they were tasty.

There's nothing tastier than a slice of warm bread with freshly made butter slathered on top.
There’s nothing tastier than a slice of warm bread with freshly made butter slathered on top.  (Photo courtesy of Pexels.)

Winnowing by Machine

Usually a farmer in our community came with his combine. The combine would thresh the wheat, separating the seeds from the chaff and straw.  Then another man riding on the combine would pull a lever and let the grains of wheat pour into sacks.

The sacks of wheat were tied with twine and stored in our granary. Some would be used for flour; but most for feeding our animals.

The straw (the stems of the wheat plants) would be left behind in the field. Later, we would bind the straw into bales and store in the barn for bedding.

Winnowing wheat is a hot and tiring job whether by machine or by hand.
Winnowing wheat is a hot and tiring job whether by machine or by hand.

Winnowing by Hand

I remember times when we had to separate the wheat from the chaff by hand. Those were back breaking days.

The wheat would be spread out on a large white sheet. Each of us would take a corner and lift the sheet. Then we would fling the wheat up into the air so that the wind would carry away the chaff leaving the heavier grains of seed to fall back into the sheet. This process is called winnowing.

It seemed we could never get the wheat clean enough. Yet, when Mom saw that the wheat was finally clean, we would gather up the corners of the sheet so that we wouldn’t lose any of the precious grains.  Then we would pour the grain into clean sacks and store for later use.

Winnowing the World

Those harvesting days help me to understand Scriptures such as Matthew 13:30 and Matthew 3:12.

“Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” Matthew 13:30

“Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”  Matthew 3:12

Jesus used fields of wheat as a picture of the peoples of the world.
Jesus used fields of wheat as a picture of the peoples of the world. (Photo courtesy of Pexels.)

Jesus speaks of His children as being precious wheat. The floor is the world that He has created. The wind and other forces of nature are under His control.

Just as our family lifted the sheets and let the wind carry the chaff away, so will Jesus separate or winnow His precious seed from the chaff.

Jesus will gather his precious children into His garner which is heaven.  And the chaff, those who rejected His love extended toward them, will be cast into an unquenchable fire.

Having harvested wheat, I understand just how precious each grain of wheat is.  Plowing, disking, seeding, fertilizing, and harvesting is no easy task. It is very labor-intensive.

Neither has Jesus spared any expense, even giving His own life, so that at harvest time many souls will be ready for heaven.

I am glad that I am one of those that Jesus considers precious seed. I look forward to the day when He will garner me into heaven.

Are you one of those precious seeds?  If not, you can be.

Let Jesus speak to your heart as you read these words from John 3:16-17; 36.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Believe on Jesus the Messiah.  Give your heart to Him today, and He will prepare you for heaven.

Then when Jesus winnows the peoples of the earth, you will be part of those who will be gathered to live with Him in heaven.

(Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels.)











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