In all my years in Dallas, I've never gone blueberry picking. So Emily, my neighbor and I thought it would be a great adventure and so off we went to Quitman, Tx with kids in tow.
We even planned ahead on this hot July day to go as soon as the kids woke up so we wouldn't be in the heat of the day. We packed water, snacks, bug spray and sun screen. Knowing that Joy was small and not used to such torturous heat, I brought a cooling towel. All of those things came in handy, but none of them prepared us for how much work harvesting a gallon of blueberries would be. It's $15 for the bucket - whether you pick 10 blueberries or the entire bucket. If you know me at all, that meant I needed a FULL bucket to get my money's worth. This was easier said than done.
At first we were looking for the plumpest blueberries, Andrew was helping and Joy was happy on the hip trying to pick blueberries too. But fun soon turned into work. It was hot, we were sweaty, Andrew picked slower and Joy grew more impatient. We began a new approach - pick whatever we could find in clusters.
In the middle of this Andrew says to me, "I am the vine. You are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit." His comment literally turned on a spiritual switch in my brain - Jesus began to flood my mind with illustrations.
It was just at this time that Emily took the kids back to the car and I got to pick by myself for a few minutes. The Lord brought this verse to my mind: "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his vineyard."
Every other time I have read this verse, I've thought, 'Yeah! Who wouldn't want to harvest?' Today I realized how HARD the harvest actually is. We were only out there for a few hours, we had the sanctuary of AC to escape to when needed and knew that we could leave at any time. But what about those who do this job EVERY day with no end in sight. Now that is hard.
I began to think about our little morning adventure like a "short-term mission trip." It started fun, had some hard parts but at the end of the day, I knew I could retreat to my home. Those who do this job every day as a laborer in the field are like "long-term missionaries." This is life. You have to do the job very differently if you are going to last years or even a lifetime.
I am thrilled that Steven gets the job of equipping the long term laborers and I get to help with the short term laborers. Both are important. God has called laborers to go out - but the great thing is that they are supposed to have the body surrounding them, supporting them, and training them. Steven will get to walk with missionaries through the tedious application process, mentoring them, and helping them find a good fit within the gifting the Lord has given them. Instead of just being thrown into the field, they will go knowing the harvest is plentiful but difficult, feeling equipped and yet leaning on the Lord at every turn, having the tools they need to navigate this new job but also having people "back home" they can call to get a word of encouragement or a listening ear. I will get to help with logistics of short term trips - from the small things like plane tickets to helping them to truly help the fields and long term laborers they are going to bless.
We get to do that!
I know that's a lot to get from a simple trip to a blueberry farm, but as I picked, I got excited to be a part of the harvest. We all have gifts that Jesus wants to use for His glory, but when we don't use them its like the blueberries that stay on the vine too long - they wither and no one benefits. So what are you called to do? Harvest, equip laborers, send laborers or ask the Lord of the harvest to do all these things? Don't miss out on being part of the harvest.