It’s that time of year again when the kids are rifling through my cupboards trying to find not-out-of-date tins to take in to school for Harvest. It brings back sharp memories of carrying a shoebox full of rice pudding and tinned carrots and leaving it at the front of a chilly church amongst piles of similar offerings and wondering which mother had time to make bread in the shape of a bushel of wheat.
Harvest Festival for me is a time not only of being thankful for all that we have, but also of anticipating future fruitfulness and harvest in my life. It’s reminded me of this postcard from last year and I thought I’d share it again today – hopefully it will inspire you too to expect a harvest in unexpected places.
It was 1917 and as blockaded Britain was slowly running out of food, the government announced that everyone needed to start growing their own supplies using whatever land was available. Suddenly, in cities all over the country people began digging up lawns, roadside verges, parks and other bits of unused land and turning them into allotments. What had been ornamental or neglected or not-thought-of became places of harvest that produced food for a hungry nation.
Perhaps most of us have areas of our lives where we might expect to be fruitful. But there are times when God turns those expectations upside down. Sometimes when we feel like we are all out of resources, God produces a harvest in unexpected places – places we wouldn’t even have considered looking for it.
The garden fork in this postcard is a tool for turning over the earth. Transforming a neat tidy lawn into a vegetable patch is a job that requires a lot of digging; turning over; planting of seeds and patience. It strikes me as quite a challenging process!
It’s not an easy statement to make: “yes Lord, come and dig me over”. You can’t pray that quickly or without some thought. It’s a deeply courageous prayer. But I know that without a doubt that a moment of surrender is the beginning of the process of new fruitfulness. A veg patch never looks ‘finished’, it doesn’t have neat edges, may not be approved of by the neighbours, but it does something wonderful – it provides food for the hungry.
Today might be a good time to ask God what part of your life he wants to use to grow a fresh harvest in (and what that harvest or provision might look like!). It might be a talent, a gift, a place, a group of friends, an opportunity… or something else altogether. It may surprise you what He says!
Perhaps you look at this picture and recognise that you are already ‘in the process’ – that earth is being exposed and turned over, stones being sifted out. Or perhaps you are aware of your area of your life which have been dug over and planted with seeds, prepared for something – but you’re not sure yet what shape that harvest is going to take. Ask God about it today, but rest in the truth that He is the Lord of the Harvest, and that if we surrender to the process, He will bring it about.
Jesus Lord of the Harvest Be with me today as I offer you the land of my life the fields, gardens, paths and verges Show me the places I overlook break up old soil and plant new seeds so that I may see your harvest in unexpected places.