At the beginning of the summer, we acquired a summer cottage in Finland. The covid situation and the recent political unrest in Ethiopia haven’t allowed us to return there yet, but now at least we have a place of our own to stay while in Finland. In the midst of the uncertainty, our home has played an important role in helping us to rest and enjoy the summer.
One of the many good things our new place has brought to our life is harvesting. Watching our cherries, apples, black currants and other berries get ripe and trying to rescue them from going to waste has been an intensive and educative process. Besides implying some very down-to-earth activities, it has brought me to contemplate a number of critical issues about life and theology.
Jesus, too, speaks about harvesting with a spiritual point to it. He told his followers: The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Luke 10:2)
The harvest – people – belongs to God and needs to be rescued from rotting. God has created every person on the planet, and he loves each of us so much that he gave his only son to die on the cross for us. In this way, he paid the price for our sins and saved us back to himself from the grip of Satan. As God himself has already carried out the redemption, harvesting is about inviting and discipling people to believe in and follow Jesus, our resurrected Lord. This is something God wants to use his children for.
Harvesting is the job of every Christian, but to do it, the gospel needs to really sink in. From the depths of our hearts, it can reach out to the world, too. “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1. Peter 3:15) Every day I go back to the basics and look at Jesus on the cross, trying to grasp how much He loves me. I need this perspective to stay alive in my faith and to keep harvesting.
Out of all our berries and fruits, our cherry tree has been the one troubling me the most. This is because I’ve never seen in my life such an amount of cherries, and I really like their taste. Considering them too precious to be wasted, we’ve asked our guests to pick some every time someone came over. But still, even though 99 % have already been picked and processed (a rather time consuming job, by the way), there are still some hanging in the topmost branches. Those are inaccessible without special ladders we don’t own, and it makes me sad to see them get darker and darker every day. I wonder when it will be too late.
I can’t help myself thinking in metaphorical terms. Who in this world would be the topmost cherries, almost inaccessible but yet so good and ripe for picking? Instead of writing my answer here, I let you come up with yours.
I recently met a young Christian originating from a country where he would be persecuted due to his faith in Jesus. With a great enthusiasm he told me how he first had heard the gospel and come to believe it, how he had been discipled after his conversion and that he now wants to share the gospel and follow Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit wherever he goes. It was an extremely encouraging encounter, proving me again that harvesting bears fruit.