We all want the basket full of apples. We want to climb the trusted wooden ladder and lean into its strong yet worn frame, consistent to hold us as we reach. Our arms long to extend, to grasp the ripe and rewarding fruit- cherry, orange, apple, pear, olive- all of it. We languish the idea of stepping down the ladder onto the sturdy ground, carrying with us the all-satisfying proof of our labor. We want to walk out of the orchard with something to prove, something to show,
“Here, see! Look at it all, touch it, smell it, taste it, observe the beauty of the harvest.”
Yet are we as ambitious, as passionate, as dedicated and proud to wake in the early morning, when no one is standing at the fence to see, to don the gloves, to climb the same ladder when no fruit is in sight, and prune? Where is your passion to graft new life in, to protect against pests, to repair the fence that was crushed under the weight of snow and the push of the wind? Do you rise with joy at the thought of digging for new water, of removing diseased trees, of reducing your current consumption to make it through the winter with just enough?
Walking out with the basket full is an honour, a prize, a gift to the one who works year in and year out. It’s not only the promise of harvest that we are called forth to rejoice in, yet also the quiet January morning when the thought of harvest is both a passing memory and a distant hope.
Hand to plow
A lifetime of labor for a vacation of harvest.
We were made for the quiet January morning, just as much as the bustling October afternoon. Will you bend to the season? To harvest in March is foolish and fruitless. To prune in July is wasteful and careless. To rest in October is thoughtless and lazy.
To the season, to His voice. Bend low to hear what the task of the day is. Some for work, some for rest, all for Him. All for us.
I sat in the airplane last week, pen to paper, and that piece tumbled out. For the last 3 1/2 years I’ve been a city-dwelling yuppie, but the previous 20 odd years were spent in rural Ontario, born and raised on farm land, working in agriculture from the age of “old enough”. Jesus speaks to us in language that is familiar to us, and the language of harvest and cold dead winter is something I’m fluent in. He spoke shepherding and fishing to His disciples, and orchards and blooming to me.
There is danger in not grasping the season we dwell in. In winter, we rest, in spring, we plan and plant, in summer we do all the things no one sees, in order for autumn to break forth with all its abundance. God is not one to confuse us, and the Bible is covered from front to back of the truth that He designed us, He created us, He delights in us, and He cares for us.
Perhaps you’re finding that all your hard work is coming up short, or your hands that have needed rest are now becoming restless. Maybe dreams are swirling for a brighter day, but your days are already full. Maybe the thing you’ve been doing for years and years that brought so much satisfaction and assurance now seems tireless and unfamiliar. The Dutch word “overleg” comes to me, put it all out there, discuss it, together. Your voice is sweet to Him, and His is reassurance to you. It’s the perfect union.
I believe rejoicing in a full basket is a natural and beautiful thing, but I also know that delighting in the rows between the weeds can also be our reality, thanks to Jesus. Let’s decipher, together, what season we dwell in, and learn the beauty of it all.