My in-laws own a strawberry farm. They live in Gallatin, TN, so if you are ever passing through in the month of May, you should stop. There really is nothing better than popping a juicy, fresh picked strawberry into your mouth. It’s sweet and flavorful and you’ll never buy from a store again once you’ve had field fresh strawberries.
Every year when the season comes around, late April to early June depending on the weather, we head up several times to help and enjoy the harvest. My girls love this time of year. They help at the selling hut and walk the rows with their cousins, showing people how to pick the best berries.
The plants are always loaded with berries, but not all the berries are ready to pick. Each day new berries become the deep red, juicy goodness you are looking for and the girls are experts at picking the best ones. Sometimes people pick berries that aren’t ready and they have a sour experience. (Fun fact: a strawberry never ripens after you pick it. What you pick is what you get. So don’t pick a berry with a white tip or green cap. Trust me.) Instead of just looking for low hanging fruit on the edge, look a little harder, move the leaves and you will find the biggest, juiciest, best berries often on plants you looked at yesterday and didn’t see any.
Jesus talks about a harvest to His disciples in John 4. He tells them:
“…wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits the the planter and harvester alike! – John 4:35-36
Jesus is telling His disciples, and therefore us since we are His disciples as well, the harvest season is now. Don’t wait any longer when it comes to people’s souls.
Much like strawberry picking, I think harvesting people who are ready to know God takes intentionality. Just like there are always berries on the plants, there are always people who need to know Jesus. But just like only certain berries are ripe for the picking, you have to pay attention to who is ready to hear the message of the Gospel and ready to be called to the next step. You can’t go out and pick a strawberry field clean the first day of the season and be done. If you do, maybe 1% of the berries will be ready and the rest will be trash.
In life, you can’t tell the Gospel to everyone at once on the same calendar day across the globe and expect all to believe it. You must carefully, as you go through your day, observe the ripening process. And much like a berry turns from white to green to pink to red, if we pay attention to those around us, the signs will be there when they are ready.
Jesus called you and me, His disciples, to go out each day and look for the people who are ready to hear His truth. Do you daily go out and look for the harvest? If my 7 and 5 year old and their 8 and 6 year old cousins can do it with strawberries, how much more should we adults be able to do it with people with the Holy Spirit as our guide!