Harvest Time

Fall makes us think of harvest time. We enjoy picking apples right off the trees. Pumpkin patches are great places to take the kids and to pick the pumpkins that will eventually become the delicious pies we enjoy on Thanksgiving. Cranberries are harvested in the fall as well, just in time to make an appearance on our Thanksgiving dinner tables.

There is a proper time to harvest every fruit and vegetable, and if we don’t take advantage of that time, the fruits and vegetables will just wither on the vine; they will be lost.

There is another harvest that we must keep in mind and be sure not to miss. If we aren’t cultivating the fruit and looking for the right time to harvest it, it too will be lost. Jesus cared deeply about this particular harvest and said this in Matthew 9:36-38.

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” 

We are the workers Jesus has sent out into the fields of harvest. There are so many lost in the fields, and if we don’t get to work, watering and cultivating, they will remain lost for eternity. Jesus takes the harvest very seriously and we must as well. Paul tells us in Colossians 4:5 to be wise in how we act toward those outside the church and to make the most of every opportunity. God provides the opportunities to touch the hearts of those around us with His saving love, but we have to seize the opportunities He provides.

It’s fall; it’s harvest time. Let’s get out in the fields of harvest. Let’s start making the most of every opportunity. It’s time to get to work.

Focusing the Image

Anyone who knows me at all, knows I love books, pens, and paper. I’ve been known to remind my husband, while we search all over Disney World for a pen I don’t yet have in my collection, how fortunate he is that I don’t like to clothes shop. After all, books and writing supplies are so much cheaper than clothes.

My latest fancy is the fountain pen. I’ve been thinking about getting one for a long time and finally purchased my first a couple of weeks ago. I’m hooked. There will definitely be more fountain pens in my future. While writing with my new pen I started to draw some comparisons between it and the Christian life. Okay, I know that sounds strange, but just hang in here with me for a minute.

Think of the fountain pen as the physical body that goes about doing all the tasks necessary in our daily lives. When you look at a fountain pen, you only see the outside. You can see the body of the pen and the nib, or point, of the pen, but nothing else. That’s what people see when they look at us. They see our outside, our physical body, nothing more.

On the inside of the fountain pen is an ink cartridge. It is this cartridge which supplies the flow of ink to the nib. Writing with a fountain pen takes some getting used to. At first I wrote with the same pressure I apply to a ball point, and I didn’t like the results. The ink spread too much on the paper and the writing looked blurry. I even thought about abandoning my new pen, but then decided that maybe the problem wasn’t the pen, maybe it was me. So I tried again, applying different amounts of pressure until I was happy with the result. What I found out was that with a fountain pen, you don’t really need to apply much pressure. The ink just flows smoothly from the cartridge, through the nib, to the paper if you let it happen naturally.

It’s the same way with us. When we became Christians, the Holy Spirit was given to us by God to dwell in us. The Holy Spirit is supposed to work through us and transform us, exhibiting His fruit in our lives. He is like the ink cartridge in the pen – always there, just waiting to flow out of us. The problem is that we sometimes press too hard; we try, on the power of our own will, to transform ourselves. We get in the way, usurping the role of the Holy Spirit and revealing only a blurred image of Christ in our lives for others to see.

The key to writing with a fountain pen, is to relax and let the cartridge do its work. That way the letters will be sharp and focused, easy to read. The key to living in the Spirit, is to let go and let Him do His work. When we try to do it ourselves, our work looks messy and out of focus. When we relax and yield ourselves to the Spirit, He can transform us, revealing a focused image of Christ in our lives.

The power of the fountain pen is in the ink cartridge, not in the hand that holds the pen. The power of the Christian is the Holy Spirit, not the person He lives in. If we let Him, if we get out of the way, He’ll flow freely through our lives. Time to bring the image into focus. Time to let go.