Well, it's November 2nd and my family just harvested our apples. We have 3 trees that we harvested today. The harvest didn't quite cover the bottom of the wheel barrow. Needless to say, it was a disappointing harvest and it left me wondering, "why?".
Why such a weak harvest? Why were most of these apples so small? Why had so many of them become food for the wasps? Why had I bothered to water those trees this summer? Why did we wait until November to harvest the trees? Why so few apples? Lots of questions. Pretty simple answer for all of them.
I got lazy. Yes, as the rain subsided in May, I began watering the trees a few times a week. Gallons of lovely well water sunk down into the thirsty root systems. They didn't shrivel and die this Summer, even though there was a decided lack of rain this year. I did do some watering. At least, until September. I mean, who's still watering in September? People that want a good harvest, I guess.
Now, why were the apples so small? Well, I hadn't pruned them back in the Spring. As they begin to grow, they grow in clusters of 3-4. What needs to happen is to remove a few of those apples early on so that 1-2 apples will have room to grow. Instead, I found clusters of 4 shriveled apples. My fault.
Why so few apples? There had seemed to have been so many more just a month ago. What happened to them? Well, my wife informed me that the kids have been eating them. That answers a lot, really. They got to them first. In my laziness, I didn't get out there a month ago to harvest the apples before both my kids and hundreds of hungry wasps enjoyed a feeding frenzy. Many had also fallen this last month and been pecked by the chickens. My fault the apples hit the ground and my fault that the chickens weren't in the pen. So, with no one around to blame, I hung my head and came into the house to write this blog.
If you're still reading, you must be wondering by now, "Why is Dave doing a blabbering blog about apples?" Well, I'm thinking about disciples. Not the 12 Jesus had. Mine and yours. And I'm wondering about the harvest. Jesus said, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” In Christ's Kingdom, we are laborers. It's good to take the time to think about the harvest and what we're doing to ensure an excellent one.
Firstly, we each need to have trees. At least one, right? We can't talk about a harvest without first having a tree to harvest. Who is your disciple? Who are you sharing Christ with? Who are you regularly encouraging and challenging in their faith? Secondly, what are you doing to encourage healthy fruit from your trees? Are you helping them lose bad fruit and the fruit that hinders growth? Without that, they keep trying to send energy to poor fruit that won't end up being harvested. (Are you still with me with this whole apple analogy being like discipleship?)
Thirdly, is someone else harvesting your trees? In the case of my apples, I lost out to 6-legged and 2-legged creatures. They got there first. I was busy. I had a lot on my plate. I didn't have time. Okay, so sometimes I was napping. The thing is, someone who was willing to pay attention to what was happening on the trees ended up enjoying the fruit. God gave those apples to those who would make the most of them. I wonder if He may do the same thing with disciples. If we're not careful to put in the time and energy necessary to produce fruitful disciples, He just might give them to someone else who will.
I'll stop pressing this apple analogy (Apples. Pressing. Get it? Okay, okay. Sorry about that). You get the point. We all want to see our churches fuller. We want to see everyone serving in their particular gifting. We want to see everyone engaged in Body life. We want to see everyone growing in love through healthy relationships. We want people to pray for each other. We want everyone to know the Word of God. And we want everyone to obey that Word too. We want a fruitful harvest. Well, as I found with my apples, that doesn't happen without being intentional.
There have to be trees in our yard and those trees need water. Lots of water, as it turns out. They need to be checked for the things that hinder healthy growth. They can't be left to themselves for long. They need someone to keep an eye on the fruit. They need a faithful laborer who will stick with them until the harvest.
Dave became the Senior Pastor in April 2015 at TCC after serving as the Director of Children's and Praise Ministries for 9 years. He graduated in 2011 from A.W. Tozer Seminary with a Masters in Christian Leadership. He and his wife, Katie, live in Sequim with their 6 children, 2 dogs, 15 chickens, and 50,000 honeybees.
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