The term, ‘the full corn’, of course, comes from the phrase that we have been looking at: ‘First the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear’, from Mark 4:28. The phrase describes three phases in the development of the spiritual life of the believer. We must never think of the christian life as simply waiting patiently until the Lord comes back, or takes us to be with Himself at death. The christian life is a life of progress, as vividly described in the phrase before us. Before we look at the ‘full corn’ stage, a caution: these three phases vary greatly from one believer to the next, in time, proportions, and in the way they are experienced. Also there is no clear defining line from one phase to the next. There is always much overlapping, but always the overwhelmingly important thing is the very beginning, the blade: no blade, no spiritual life to develop. That person is not RightWithGod, and it is impossible for him or her to develop as a christian. This cannot be over-emphasised.
The stage of the ‘full corn in the ear’, is when the empty cases or shells in the early ‘ear’ have filled out with grain which can then be harvested and prepared in a multitude of ways to give food to man and beast. Thus we see the wonderful goodness of God in the harvest, giving us cause to thank the Lord our God for His goodness to such sinful creatures as we are. The harvest should be a greatly humbling experience, filled with thankfulness and appreciation. The goodness of God in the harvest shines forth in Psalm, 65: 9 -13. The last verse, as it is rendered in the Scottish Psalter is extremely expressive and moving:
“With flocks the pastures clothed be, The vales with corn are clad; And now they shout and sing to thee, For thou hast made them glad.”
How much greater will Christ’s joy, yes, and our joy with Him, be when He sees His harvest: those for whom He travailed, gathered before Him, saved, sanctified, and glorified to be with Him forever!
But, back to the ‘full corn’ of spiritual life. This is the stage of maturity and ripening for the christian. It is a very important stage, and should never be despised or downgraded, as, sadly, it is in the modern church. It is not a matter of age, although age and experience are big factors in it. The christian who has made good use of the bible, and of his time in this life, and of all the experiences that God has given him, will come to have, or rather to be, the full corn at a comparatively early age. This christian is now able to pass on to a younger generation, the rich fruits of their christian lives: their biblical knowledge and the deep insights God has given to them. In a word they have amassed a great store of true, God-given, biblically based, wisdom. There are many details which I could list as evidences of the ‘full corn’, but I will restrict myself to just this one thing, which, in a sense includes all: wisdom. Those who have it are the most useful people in the church, and should be appreciated as such, especially by the young. They should continually search them out, and spend as much time as possible in their company.
The importance of true wisdom to the christian is illustrated throughout the bible, but chiefly in one book: the Book of Proverbs. Here is the book for the young christian. He should be in it every day of his life. This is the ‘fast track’ to true wisdom. All we need to do to confirm this is to read the opening verses of Proverbs: 1: 2 – 4: “To know wisdom, and instruction; to perceive words of understanding; to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; to give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion”.
In closing I will say just one more thing. In the Book of Proverbs, we find that ‘wisdom’ is spoken of, or speaks as, a person. Who is that person? When we read Proverbs, chapter 8, verses 22 – 36, there is only one conclusion: ‘Wisdom’ is God the Son, who was from all eternity in the bosom of the Father, but was sent into this world by the Father, in order to save sinners. These things will have to wait for another day.