Gary Armour, September 13, 2011
Today I picked pears. I enjoy picking pears each year! It reminds me of when I was young and we had Easter egg hunts. Pears have a way of hiding themselves among the leaves of the tree in such a way that finding them all requires many trips up and down the ladder, relocating the ladder, and the reaching out as far as I safely can and plucking all of the beautiful fruit I can see within my reach.
Often I will see a pear that is just out of my reach by a few inches and I know I will have to remember where it was then move the ladder closer or wait until I get the taller ladder. Invariably I will miss a few and when I think I have picked all that my ladders will allow me to reach, I find one I missed.
There are several lessons to be learned from picking pears. First, there are many more pears up there in the tree than first meets the eye. When I think two boxes will hold the full crop it usually turns out that I need four. Second, it is impossible for me to reach all the pears on my trees. Some are just too high and only God can bring them down with his winds or the rain. Third, even though I think I can see all the pears that are within reach from any one point, there are some that just won’t become visible until I move to a different vantage point.
A fourth lesson to be learned about picking pears, and perhaps the most important, is that pears must be picked one by one. I remember helping some close friends harvest pecans from their property in western Missouri years ago. We would spread out tarps on the ground under the trees and Don would climb up into each tree and shake it. Hundreds of pecans rained from their pods into the tarps below, which we then rolled up and emptied into boxes. Not so with pears. Each must be carefully picked and placed into a bag or basket so as not to bruise the fruit.
It seems that these lessons can be applied to life in many different ways. One way is to think of the ripe pears on the tree as people in our lives, many who may not know the Lord as their personal Savior. We think we know who they all are — but isn’t it possible there may be some that we don’t readily see? Perhaps they are even the people who live in our neighborhood, who are closely related to us, or with whom we work each day. Some of these people may not come to mind today, but in God’s timing, He will show them to us, one by one. And one by one we must reach out to them and bring each one closer to us, so that we might discover and minister to their needs.
And finally, it is true that no one Christian will ever be able to reach every other soul in his life, his family, or in the community by himself. Some may go unreached because there is no one who is capable of getting close enough to them to really touch them. But the harvest is in God’s hands. He uses us to bring in those fruits that He shows to us and brings within our reach. And He will provide other ways to touch the hearts of those who seem too distant for anyone to reach.
It’s harvest time. We all need to be out in the orchard gathering God’s fruit. Let’s trust Him to show us the “pears” he wants each of us to pick!