He pointed to a row of bushes saying, “This is a good place to start.” We plopped our sack-lined buckets down on the ground and looked around. People were milling around the blueberry patch, talking, sharing, wiping blueberry juice off the chins of children. The sun was climbing higher in the sky and we began the work of the morning. The first few bushes were small with small clumps of berries. “Pick the dark ones, girls. If they are ripe, they will fall off easily.” Samuel shovels fistfuls into his mouth, grinning from ear to ear, juice running down his face. I pull Olivia closer and teach her how to cup her hands so the berries will fall just right into her hands and into the bucket. We work slowly, carefull inspecting each group of berries, each branch to harvest the ripe ones.
After 45 minutes of careful work, we have a bucketful and move on. Our friends arrive. We wave hello as they pass by and are started on another row, further into the patch. The kids are getting tired. Samuel has filled his belly and is content to sit in the tall grass and observe. Olivia begins to complain about being hot and tired. I press the older girls to work swiftly to pick as many as they can. Ten more minutes, I coach. We work diligently to harvest all we can from our bushes. Finally, I call an end to our picking and we wander over to say good-bye to our friends. The children make themselves comfortable under the shade of a peach tree, playing games with leaves and rocks and pits. I visit and fellowship with the friends, taking note of their overflowing buckets. Unlike our bushes, theirs are overflowing with berries! Scores and scores of plump, juicy berries ripe for picking. The work is far less laborious in this part of the patch. I find myself grabbing handfuls and filling a third bucket because the picking is so much easier.
And God speaks to my heart and helps me see His purpose in this waiting room part of life: Just because there isn’t much fruit doesn’t mean it isn’t worth picking.
There isn’t a lot of ripe fruit in my life right now. And what fruit there is has to be picked carefully. There is a lot that isn’t ripe yet, hasn’t matured. I find myself looking around and seeing overflowing harvests in the lives of others. It looks appealing…makes me want to abandon my spot in the garden and harvest where the work is easier.
But, this is where I’m planted. In this marriage, in this family, in this church, in this community, with these friends and neighbors, with these responsibilities. This is where God wants me. And there is a harvest….it’s just not mature yet. If I am patient and willing to wait on the Holy Spirit to move, the harvest will come.
Thank You for Your wisdom, Lord. Help me to wait on You and for the way you bring all things to maturity in Your own time. In Jesus’ name, Amen.