Harvest: To gather up the crop

A few weeks ago, I went with John to his weekly Rotary Club luncheon. (He is a member of the Suburban West Rotary Club of Pensacola – The best Rotary Club!) The speaker was talking about a program to teach families to prepare fresh food products. For instance, it costs a great deal less to prepare a potato than to buy a bag of frozen “tator tots.”  It was an interesting discussion by an American farmer.

The farmer also sells “big” farm equipment and he told a delightful story. A woman approached him at an event and told him that it was irritating that his slow moving “big yellow and green” farm equipment kept her from traveling at her desired rate of speed. He smiled and said that the equipment was what brought groceries to her table. She looked askance at him and replied, “No they don’t. I buy my groceries at The Apple Market.” I know: give her a dollar to buy a clue!

My sister and her family are farmers in Kansas. While visiting them one time, my brother-in-law, Ken, showed our granddaughters wheat still on the stalk. He pealed back tender leaves to reveal the growing grain. Each girl took some of the wheat and tasted it, right there in the field. When talking with one of their parents that evening, one excited granddaughter exclaimed, “And, I ate RAW MEAT that Uncle Ken gave to me.” Yep, Grandma Jill grabbed the phone to explain that it was raw WHEAT and not raw MEAT that we had eaten on the farm.

Throughout the year, I get to hear what’s going on at the farm: preparing, planting, growing, protecting, harvesting, selling, and back to preparing. This time of the year, us non-farmers think about the harvest.

And so, I had a question for Poppa the other day. (He grew up on the family farm that his preacher father kept.) I had spent part of the day, walking across our yard, picking up pine cones for a craft project. My question was: did I “harvest” the pine cones? I mean, I had nothing to do with the planting or growing of the crop; I just picked them up. Was it cheating to say that I had “harvested” them?   Poppa was clear: I had harvested pine cones. Like ancient American Indians who “harvested” wild rice and lumberjacks who “harvested” trees that they had not planted, I was harvesting a crop.

Later I looked up the definition of the word “harvest”; it means to gather up the crop. I felt that I have the freedom to talk about my “harvest” of pine cones and other things.

This year was a great year of “harvest” for us: we harvested from our home damaged by flood; we harvested good news when we were told that it was not cancer; we harvested joy when a loved one was taken home; we harvested peace of mind because others stepped up and took on a burden.

Some of you had harvests this year that included: a graduation when it looked like it wouldn’t happen; riches when the bank account was low; grace when it wasn’t earned; more moments together than they said there would be; a new start when it looked impossible; a loved one released from prison; mercy when you deserved something else.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

Keep harvesting! And, keep planting; you may be preparing a harvest for someone else.

But, I cannot hit “send” today without including another scripture. Is it for you? “The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved.” (Jeremiah 8:20) Email me at carlajillstein@yahoo.com if you need someone to talk or pray with you. I am here for you.

Love, Jill


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