Harvest Time

It’s late July in Atlanta and the unusual abundance of rain combined with the typical heat of summer has sent my tomato garden into overdrive. I mean, real overdrive… like I pick 8 gallons of tomatoes every 3 days! Of course seeing that we started with 90 tomato plants in the spring, it’s not surprising that we’re enjoying a summer bounty of the ripe beauties. While I’m really enjoying having red, ripe slices with just about every meal recently, there’s just no way I can personally keep up with the yield.

So about once a week, I find myself in the kitchen either making salsa or stewing tomatoes to preserve for later use… a process which requires a lot of peeling, chopping, cooking, packing tomatoes into jars to process for canning. (5 ½ gallons of salsa and 4 ½ gallons of tomatoes, so far!) I know that there aren’t nearly as many people who do home canning these days (and some don’t even know what I’m talking about), but let me tell you, it is an involved process that can require a lengthy amount of time and effort! And the other thing is, that when the crops are ready, the time to work is NOW, NOW, NOW! They don’t wait for a break in a busy schedule or hold off while you take a break or get back from vacation.

Then (Jesus) said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” ~ Matthew 9:37

You know, when I read this verse, my recent tomato experience helps me to really understand the message Jesus was trying to communicate… as I expect most people from a farming or agricultural background do.

Unfortunately, sometimes the word “harvest” in modern Christian lingo conveys a totally different meaning. Those from a more urban upbringing, or who haven’t actually experienced an in-gathering of crops might sometimes think about ‘harvest’ in terms of abundance or a time of fruitfulness where believers simply enjoy what has been made ready. While abundance is certainly part of it, any farmer will tell you that reaping is the time of year necessitating the most work. Diligence, perseverance, and dedication, as well as many consecutive hours and long days are required to bring the crops in from the field. Days that require more stamina and conditioning in order to quickly store the crop so that the yield doesn’t spoil.

Jesus said “As you go, make disciples of all nations…”(Matt 28:18) “Make” is the operative word in that sentence. And to make anything requires effort. Often a lot of it. Though we all can have lofty wishes about being used by God, most of the time nothing really happens until we move past the “wishing” stage, and are ready to roll up our sleeves and get busy actually investing our whole hearts, souls and bodies in the labor of reaping the fields that God has prepared.

And sadly it is at this point where many potential laborers lose heart and some even step away from the task, opting for a more opportune time (which may pass them by.) In this age of instant meals and googled answers to any question, we all too often lack the perspective of the hardworking farmer who knows that every successful harvest requires diligence, perseverance, dedication and promptness. We should all earnestly seek to emulate that work ethic and focus in our pursuit of the Kingdom harvest as we dedicate ourselves to “not become weary in doing good,” knowing that “at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)

 

 

15 thoughts on “Harvest Time

  1. Hi Karen! What a great description of the harvest. And wonderful pictures too. Your post really made me think about the commandments of Jesus and taking the efforts needed to follow through on them. But it’s also a cheerful reminder of days spent canning fruit and veggies with my Granny. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

  2. Karen, this is simply beautiful all the way around! It is so true! For example, when I think about how I want my blog to be used to reach others and help them heal… well, the writing is only the first step. It’s when the questions and conversations come, which turn into phone calls and relationships; it is THEN that the harvest is really apparent, and something good happens! It is with time, effort, and prayer that God begins to use me to show others how Jesus can heal their hurting hearts. In addition, we must remember to check on our gardens and what was grown there. I know I’ve led people to Christ, and found it more difficult to keep up with how they are doing afterward. While it’s not possible to keep track of everyone, I felt God nudging me to ask the specific people I’ve led to Christ, if they have a prayer request, or if they got a bible yet, or have found a church. It’s the little ways we care for our harvest, so our precious “tomatoes” don’t roll away and rot, but rather get turned into a delicious salsa or sauce! Thank you for this “fresh” convicting perspective on bringing souls to Jesus! ❤️

  3. Oh, my goodness! This is such a good and convicting read. I know I often get stuck in the “wishing” staging. I will be confessing this in prayer as soon as I hit post on this comment.

    P.S. Thanks for stopping by the #QuietlyThroughThursday linkup! 🙂

  4. First of all, kudos to picking 8 gallons of tomatoes every three days! A true testament to “do not become weary in doing good,” knowing that “at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9) I admire the process of planting, cultivating, growing, and harvesting. I also admire the time and patience it takes to grow anything! Much like our lives, God is the creator and I am thankful He is patient with me certainly in the growing season!

  5. Hi, Karen! Visiting from Barbie’ s blog.

    Really appreciated this. I like how you used such a tangible, common thing – the tomato – to teach a spiritual truth. Good stuff!

    1. I do love tomatoes and I think that God can use the very common things in our lives to teach us His truth, if we are diligent enough to pay attention! Thanks Marie.

  6. I so appreciated this post and I don’t even have a garden this year. However, I do not want to grow weary and give up in this season of my life. Thank you so much for encouraging me to keep on! Blessings!

    1. It is easy to grow weary and give up when we look at the direction of our culture and all the confusion around us, but I guess that’s when we need to be the most diligent to pursue Jesus so that we’ll know what work needs to be done. Thanks for stopping by!

    1. We canned beans back in June and our plants are about finished. Tomatoes are winding down, but we ought to have a some into late summer… maybe not quite as many! Happy canning, Michele!

  7. Thank you for this post, Karen! I stumbled across it after linking up on “Coffee For Your Heart” and it was definitely an encouragement to my heart. It gave me a new way to think of harvest. 🙂

    1. Thanks Moriah! I think we all need to adjust our thinking about harvest and embrace the fact that what Jesus asks of us requires diligent work!

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