Do you do seasonal bucket lists? I do. I’m a planner and a wanderlust and I get great satisfaction out of checkmarks. This Summer, I grabbed a 12 x12 post-it note from a pad that my husband had brought back for free from a conference and started jotting down all kinds of things I wanted to accomplish and enjoy as a family. I’d say we had check marks by about 87% of those items (precise, I know) and then we even added a few surprise items along the way. Well, I plan to do the same thing for this Fall as well if I can find that giant post-it pad again. And on my list, like all other Falls, I will have things like: go apple picking, take pictures at a pumpkin patch, maybe go to a corn maze, go leaf-peeping on the blue ridge parkway, make apple pies, make pumpkin cake, have people over for a potluck, celebrate Thanksgiving with family, etc. At the core of my list for Fall is the reminder that most of these goals center around the theme of harvest time. If it hadn’t been for the investments of people planting things with this season in mind, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy this season to its fullest. An abundant life with God is a lot like this too.
God created us for relationship with Him and others. But we can’t enjoy that gift unless we put in the time, conversations, and obedience that are needed to cultivate what’s necessary for a harvest of abundant living.
When you’ve been in relationship with the Lord and His people for the majority of your life, it’s easy to get so caught up in the walking and the talking that you sacrifice the sitting. The sitting is where you can raise your eyes from your to do list to see all that has been overwhelming your heart and mind become undone. The sitting is where seeds of truth are planted in your heart by absorbing God’s Word into your heart and speaking it back to Him in your prayers, over all the things that are churning in your soul. I can’t help but think of the story of Mary and Martha when I reflect on this part of the abundant life. I’m such a Martha. SUCH a Martha. But when I read what Jesus said to Martha in Luke 10:41-42, I crave what Mary had found by simply sitting at His feet, “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Who are you in this story? Who do you want to be?
If the sitting is the seed planting, the obeying is the watering that brings about the harvest of abundant living. One question that I’ve been pondering lately is this: Do I love Jesus or just his teachings? In John 14:23, Jesus said, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” Walking in obedience to what Jesus taught only comes through two things: actually listening to what He says and actually doing what He says. Some people believe his teachings are right. But only those who live by what He taught as if their life depended upon it demonstrate their love for Him. The roots that grow deep and branches that grow outward from obedience to Jesus looks like abundant, non-solitary living, blessed by relationship with God in three persons and the people He loves.
Fruit doesn’t grow unless a seed has been planted and given all the nutrients needed to make it grow. And fruit that isn’t picked and consumed rots. A good farmer doesn’t keep all his produce. He stores some and eats some, but he also shares some. One of the sweetest parts of living an abundant life is sharing the fruits of that with others so that their tastes are awakened to want what you’ve got. The harvest of an abundant life offers the gift of sharing good fruit.[easy-tweet tweet=”The harvest of an abundant life offers the gift of sharing good fruit.” user=”@JaymeHull” hashtags=”#harvest”]
God teaches us about this kind of sharing: “Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Galatians 6:8-10
With each pumpkin you carve, each apple you pick, and each ear of corn that brushes your shoulder as you wind through maze this Fall, reflect on what a good life’s harvest looks like. Do more sitting with Jesus. Practice more obedience to what He says and if it’s hard, ask for His help. Then, share. Share more of the good fruits that God grows in your heart. If you do, you’ll see a harvest more picturesque than even the sweetest Norman Rockwell Autumn painting and far more abundant than you could ever imagine.
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