Reluctant Harvester

Writer Author  Tennie Goen
Christian Article : Evangelism  - Fiction  No

Christian Author Writer Harvest time is just about over! The Lord has changed my attitude about the garden. I’ve come along way but, I still have to be honest. I was thrilled that this morning the weather report called for a cold front by tonight. A possible freeze! Oh, Lord, dare I get my hopes up? Could it really be time to put up the canning equipment and all those little gadgets that preservation of the harvest requires? For example there is the canning jars and of course the huge pan that you have to boil them in before you fill them with the fruit of your labor. (Oh, goody goody!) Then there is the doohickey you have to set on top of the jars so you will not make such a mess filling them. And don’t forget the thingamabob that goes into the bottom of the canner to keep the jars from getting too hot. I decided once that it wasn't necessary to use it and well, you know the rest of that story. What about all those little rings and lids? They seem to get everywhere. They come tumbling out of every drawer and cabinet I open yet, when I have the jars hot and filled and ready to go I can’t find them. I either have the lids or the rings but not both! And let's not forget the little jigger that sits on top of the canner screaming in such an alarming pitch that you just know any minute the whole thing is going to blow! Nothing thrills me like the idea of green beans hanging from the ceiling. Which, does by the way, remind me of an ugly incident that happened when I was just a toddler playing at my Mother's feet. It involved pinto beans, a match stem and a pressure cooker. Well, I don't guess we have time to get into that right now! Then there’s the gizmo that you use to retrieve the hot jars so you won’t burn yourself. It goes on and on. It takes a lot of equipment, time and effort to bring in the harvest and save it. Up until the last couple of years I have always dreaded harvest time. All it meant to me was work! I didn’t really care if there was a garden planted much less a harvest. It was a burden to me, something that I just had to endure. Oh, I did my part. That is to say I reluctantly did it. There was no satisfaction of a job well done. I was just glad when it was over. You see, I had a stinky attitude about it. There was no anticipation or joy. Just duty. That is all it was to me. Norman, my husband, on the other hand was excited!

You see he had the vision. He prepared the soil and planned where he was going to plant everything. He purchased and planted the seeds. He woke early each morning rushing out to see which seeds had come up. He watered. He hoed. He pulled weeds. He nourished weak plants, staking them for strength. Then inevitably the day came when he would rush through the kitchen door all excited with a juicy red tomato, the first fruit of all his labor. He was looking for someone to celebrate the harvest with him. Unfortunately, I did not share his enthusiasm. What a disappointment for him. What a missed blessing for me. Proverbs 10:5 says, He that gathereth in the summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.

Today I have a better attitude, a not-so-reluctant attitude. How? A belief in a mighty God who can not only make a heart but change it. I realized that my “gardening” husband was not going to change. I prayed that God would change his zeal for gardening. But He didn’t. I prayed that the Lord would send snow in August. But He didn't. Well, what else was there to do but to ask God to change me! He did. Oh, I'm still not quite as excited as Norman, but I'm better. It has and is taking time. I was willing to be willing, if you know what I mean. It has taken effort. It has taken patience. I needed lots of grace. Little by little, bean by bean; it happened. I can...change was my battle cry! You see I had never been out in the garden. I didn’t even know what was planted in it until Norman dumped it out on my kitchen counter! Oh, he rattled on and on about what he planted. I just didn’t listen. I wasn’t interested. I knew things had to change. I just had to catch his vision. I had to make the first step.

So, one day I stepped out the back door, along the sidewalk through the yard, and into the garden. And yes, I did know where it was! “Pretty day isn’t it?” I said to Norman. He was bent over with his back to me. At the sound of my voice he nearly jumped a row of black-eyed peas and fell head first into the cucumbers! You see he was not accustomed to hearing or seeing me in the garden. With a panic stricken look on his face, he said, “What’s wrong?" He fully expected that a crisis had occurred to bring me out there. I calmed him down and he finally got over the shock of me being there. Then it was with great pride he showed me around his little corner of the world. I was determined to give the Lord a chance to change my heart. I sat and watched him work. He talked and talked and told me all he was doing and why. He seemed really pleased to have someone to share his plans with. I went out again another time. I sat...he worked. And then one day while listening to him tell of all the wonderful food we were going to have soon, I bent over and pulled a weed...that was the beginning. I couldn’t stop. I pulled another and another. It felt good. I cared. Things begin to change in my heart right them. You see when I started giving a little of myself in the garden, I started catching a little glimpse of the harvest. The work of canning was somehow going to be easier. I even looked forward to it this year.

The harvest is a burden to those who have never even planted a seed. There is no anticipation of reaping if you haven't sown. In Luke 10:2, we are told that the harvest is truly great. It is so great that there is not enough laborers to bring it in and preserve it. It says to pray for the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers. Could you be one? When you think of lost souls being harvested for the kingdom, do you get excited or do you feel like it is just too much work? Maybe you find yourself thinking, "Let someone else do it, it's just not my calling." Pray and ask God to change your heart like He did mine. Get involved. Do your part. Give. Witness. Teach. Care. Once the harvest is in, it will need to be preserved through decipling. It will take all of us. Find your place and join in the joy and reward of the harvest.

"Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest." John 4:35

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