It’s not a secret that autumn is my favorite time of year. Each season has something special, but autumn has a glow and an expectancy uniquely its own. It doesn’t have the complete freedom of summer vacation. Or the loud noises of the Fourth of July. It doesn’t smell like chlorine from the town’s swimming pool. Nor does it stick to your fingers with the sugary pinkness of cotton candy.
Nope, autumn boasts none of these wonderful things. And it’s certainly not Spring, a time when new life bursts forth like a young woman’s heart in love for the very first time. Fresh buds pop up in a musical symphony adorned in colorful dresses waiting to be admired. Sweet smells grace the air as butterflies and other lovely creatures make their return, as if they were gone for a short time having their nails done with their best friends.
Instead, it hints that winter is standing in the wings, eager to take center stage. Winter is filled with loud voices that makes others tremble. In hearing winter’s blustery sounds, the audience knows without a doubt that wind and snow are coming. Like a long-lost villain in a melodrama, Winter takes its icy fingers and runs it up and down our spines, making us shiver.
But autumn is not Winter. It does have crisp mornings you can break off with a spoon and put in your cereal. It has crunchy leaves underfoot and the smell of promise in the air. There’s a hint of loneliness, too. But there’s always a little dab of loneliness with great joy, otherwise, how can we tell the difference?
Autumn is harvest time. When the sunsets are deeper colors and splash across the horizon like a great picture show. When the moon is larger than life and glows with good intentions. When insects are noisier, making their own brand of music not sold in stores or on TV for $19.95 plus shipping and handling.
Autumn is a time to reap what has been sown. Good seed has been planted. The right amount of rain and sunshine have made it grow, along with many uttered and unuttered prayers. We all pray for a safe and bountiful harvest.
There’s another kind of harvest, too. It’s the harvest of believers. In Matthew 9:36-38 Jesus “…saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’”
Not much has changed since then. There are many, many people who do not know Jesus. They wander through this life like sheep without a shepherd. They follow one thing for a while, until something new catches their eye. A new toy. A new philosophy. A new charismatic leader. They hop from one field to the next. Like a lost sheep who things the greener grass is always one field over.
Good seed has either never been planted in their lives or it hasn’t taken root. Something or someone came and uprooted it. That’s why we believers are called to be laborers in the fields by planting seeds of faith in others. How? By our own testimonies. By the kind of lives we lead. By the words we speak that the Holy Spirit gives us.
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come” (John 16:13).
A few years ago my good friend, Donna, and I were at a house of prayer. Two people there spoke over us. One of them said that he saw Donna sitting on top of a big combine driving it and bringing in the harvest. Whenever I see Donna, I think of that image of her as the harvester. It’s true. The Lord has called her specifically to spread the Good News to unbelievers, to back sliders and to those without hope. May her harvest be plentiful. May we all plant those seeds to those around us. We don’t have to travel far to do so. Sometimes, we simply have to speak to someone in our own homes.
May we all have a blessed harvest.