Like many others in northern climates, I really look forward to autumn. After the scorching hot temperatures and humidity of summer, I truly embrace the cooler air. It is so enjoyable to see the color palette of fall as well. The vibrant yellows of squash and gourds, the amazing oranges of pumpkins, the red and green apples, not to mention the leaves on the trees, make it a feast for the eyes. Fall is not only beautiful, but it is also an important time of year known as harvest time.
Fall harvest is a busy time for many. When the leaves begin to fall, we know winter is not far off, and time is limited to bring in the last fruits and vegetables of summer. I love picking apples, and making applesauce, cleaning out my garden and trying to figure out what to make with the variety of last- minute vegetables, and putting in a few cool weather crops. This last week the importance of the harvest was lovingly pointed out to me not only as a physical reality, but also as a spiritual reality. God is abundantly creative in the ways He reminds us of His truths.
As I was walking in my garden looking for something to pick, I noticed some peppers on the ground. The closer I got to the peppers, I realized they were rotten. Not just overripe, but black, fuzzy, and full of God’s little garbage collectors. I looked to the nearest pepper plant and saw several more peppers overripe and ready to fall. How could this be? As I thought about it, I realized that in the busyness of life, none of the five people who live in my house, including me, had thought to harvest them. God’s Word says:
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Luke 10:1-2.
When I saw the black and decayed peppers, I immediately thought of this verse. The good peppers represented the harvest of souls that is ready and waiting for someone to bring the Good News of the Gospel to them. The fallen ones represented the souls who were not harvested. If we, as Believers, are not faithful to witness and to share the Gospel, how will this harvest of souls be gathered? Just as my peppers ripened and waited to be picked, there are many people waiting on us to share the Gospel. Are we content to let the fruit rot on the vine, and fall to the ground and be devoured? The Bible says:
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? Romans 10:14
I am not writing this to cause false guilt or shame, but just as a reminder that we are all called to go and teach the world about Jesus. I believe that the world mentioned in these two verses is all around us. This message is not just for pastors or professional missionaries. It is for all who name the Name of Jesus as Lord. I challenge you today to hear the powerful message of my rotten peppers, pray that God will send workers out into the harvest, and ask Him, “Lord, what is my part? Please teach me how to work this harvest, and then send me."
Amy Shatrick is an Akron native and a believer in Jesus since 1995. She loves to study the Word of God and teach new believers how to study the Bible. One of her favorite Scriptures is Philippians 1:6, “ And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Amy has been married to Gary since 1997, and they have three children: Abbey, Ben, and Rachel.
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