This coming Tuesday will be the first day of autumn—the perfect time to consider what Jesus taught us in Luke 10:2, “The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.” This week I’ve been busily harvesting flower seeds, which I gather and then scatter along our fence line in the hopes of more flowers blooming next summer. I have some daffodil bulbs on order, but that’s about the only garden flower I’m willing to invest in. Why? Because they’re poisonous, so the critters don’t devour them! The ground squirrels are so adroit at stripping out all other bulbs that my husband says I should quit providing treasure hunts for them. He suggests I just set all edible bulbs out on a stump with a sign saying, “Come and get it!”
We’ve pretty much stopped trying to garden in any serious fashion, so we don’t have the wonderful stores of homegrown tomatoes, potatoes, beets, and corn that once graced our autumn dinner tables. Living in the woods as we do, the competition from the deer, raccoons, woodchucks, squirrels, chipmunks, geese, birds, rabbits—and various insects—has pretty much overwhelmed our patience. There are only so many times I can run outside feeling like Dinsey’s little cocker spaniel, Lady, and go swooshing away intruders. Besides, most of our marauders are midnight raiders.
We’ve acquiesced. We may attempt a renaissance in gardening next year, now that we’re both retired, but—at least for the time being— between the critters, clay soil, and shady surrounds, we’re picking most of our produce from our favorite grocery store. Sigh!
Thankfully, there are still a few free bits of bounty from God’s granary. A hundred years ago, our property was an apple orchard, and there are some trees that produce apples in the woods.
I’m not sure if there were ever domestic grapevines, but we named our “Tanglewood Cottage” not only in honor of the Boston Pops, but also in recognition of the massive tangled vines that attempt to overrun every honeysuckle or fencepost that boasts a bit of sunlight.
What does this have to do with our command for today? Well, when I was young and would pray for the Lord to “send forth laborers,” I couldn’t help but add, “Here am I, Lord! Send me!” I never felt called to a foreign mission field per se but did feel an urge to share the gospel wherever I went. Reflecting again on this passage, two things dawned on me:
First, God is serious! He wants us to pray for people who are willing to spend their lives laboring to share the good news of Christ’s love as a full-time, every-day-of-their-lives, twenty-four-seven commitment. Do you know any of those? Four of our own children are involved full-time in ministries. Over the years, we’ve had many friends serving in various ministries, and I have two young friends who’ve gone to the mission field in the past year! All these precious saints need my support with prayer and encouragement! When I was young, I had all sorts of friends who were planning to be full-time Christian workers. Fewer and fewer and now interested. We need to pray for the Lord to raise up a generation of young people who are willing to live sacrificial lives to share the gospel of Christ both in America and around the world . . . and then we need to help them as we can!
Second, God always wants us also to respond, “Here am I, Lord! Send me!” Like me, you may not be called to a foreign mission field. And, like my experience with gardening, you may not have the patience and strength to become a full-time spiritual gardener and harvester at this point in your life. However, let’s not fail to harvest what’s within our reach! Let’s keep our eyes open and study. Maybe we can learn to recognize plants around us that we didn’t recognize before but are ready to be harvested! And, who knows what our futures may hold?
Text for this meditation: Luke 10:2, “Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.“