Sunday, October 16, 2011

Into the Harvest Field

Luke 10:2
He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."

When I was growing up, we always had a vegetable garden. My dad, a botany professor, was born with a green thumb. Gardening for him was not just a hobby, it was a passion. Since he planted both summer and winter gardens, our family benefited from a year-round harvest of fresh, organic produce.

I inherited my father's love for growing things. Wherever I have lived, sun permitting, I, too, have tended a vegetable garden. There is no aroma more gratifying than that of freshly-turned, fertile soil warmed by the spring sunshine. I never wore gloves when placing seeds or seedlings in the ground. The texture of the earth in my hands made me feel, in a profoundly simple way, deeply connected to God. Kneeling, digging, planting, and tamping down the soil; I was praying in the dirt!

One spring, no longer content with the humble, well-composted plot I had used for several years, I decided to go big, REALLY big, with my garden. I borrowed a neighbor's rotor-tiller and proceeded to turn over a sizable patch of backyard lawn. This was much harder work than I had anticipated, but I was determined to meet my goal. Three days later, I had a lot less grass to mow and a garden plot whose magnitude dwarfed the original as surely as the earth does the moon.

What did I grow in that garden? A better question might be: "What didn't I?" Beans, yellow squash, zucchini, cucumbers, Big Boy tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and, the grand experiment, watermelon. All sprouted, bloomed and thrived. I watered, weeded, and waited for those first fruits to appear, anxious for the first delectable taste.

But, there was one problem I didn't anticipate: a bumper crop!

That's a problem? When so much is ripening at once, yes! My harvest was plentiful indeed, but I was the only one plucking, picking, washing, cooking, freezing, and giving the surplus of the day to my neighbors. I could barely keep up. What began as a labor of love quickly devolved into plain old labor. How I longed for more hands to lighten the workload I had brought on myself!

~

Like plump, succulent tomatoes begging to be plucked from the vine, countless persons are ripe and ready to hear the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. Are there enough of us willing to toil in this vast and promising garden? Can we, by our words and examples, bring in a bountiful harvest for God's Kingdom? Or, will be abandon these fruits to wither and rot on the vine?

Today, let us ask the Lord of the harvest to send us and many others, with hope and faith, into the harvest field.

Readings
Psalms 148, 149, 150 or 114, 115
Jeremiah 29:1, 4-14
Acts 16:6-15
Luke 10:1-12, 17-20

7 comments:

  1. I always wished I was better at gardening! May God help me be a better fisher of men than the gardener I'm obviously not mean to be ;) I always love how you tie in your personal experiences with the message. Great post :)

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  2. I'm not so ripe and wish it would slow down...As always...XOXOXOXO

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  3. What a lovely post and a lovely example of how focus and dedication to growing anything can result in a bountiful harvest. Maybe Jesus wished us to be not only fishers of men but also farmers of the world.

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  4. Thanks, everyone, for stopping by today!
    @Jessica - Thanks for the compliment; yes, I believe you make a great fisher of men and women! :)
    @Bonnie - Not sure if I understand what you want to slow down?
    @Lynne - Farmers of the world . . . I like that!

    Blessings to all!

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  5. I grew up out in the country, the grandchild of a farmer. My grandparents lived next door to us, so not only did we help my Grandfather with his tobacco fields, we also had vegetable gardens to tend each year. Huge ones. As a child, I vowed to never garden when I grew up, because it was serious hard work! As an adult, that vow changed and I find myself yearning for the experience of a home with enough land to plant a small, manageable garden. Alas, I am currently in a townhouse with no land to till. I have to content myself with container gardening on my patio. It gives me tomatoes each year, but I do hope, someday, to have that home and land to grow more. Full circle...eventually we all make that journey! Lovely post Martha!

    - Dawn

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  6. Thank you, Dawn, for sharing this wonderful story with me and other readers. Isn't it funny how some of the things we did as children with parents or grandparents, and vowed never to do when we grew up, are exactly the things we do, or in your case, yearn to do now?

    The house I live in now is in a forest, so I can't garden like I used to. I do plant bulbs for a colorful springtime, but I do miss those homegrown tomatoes!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, Dawn!

    Blessings!

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  7. I love the smell of the rich black soil in my garden and the probiotics therein, sister. I like what Jess said about you having a way of using life experiences you have to relate the gospel to folks!! Rock on, sister!! :-)

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