In early June, I wrote a post lamenting about our flooded Wisconsin farm fields—how the farmers might not be able to plant corn in time for a decent harvest. My own farm garden lost the first pumpkin planting. Although seeds were pushed into freshly tilled earth on June 1 as usual, the persistent cold and rain caused rot and I ended up replanting weeks later.
Now, in mid-October, corn harvests have had normal to above average yields. And my vegetable garden planted and replanted later than ever? We’ve had more food than we’ve been able to give away. Zucchini and tomatoes, green beans and broccoli, a variety of lettuces all summer long, raspberries and strawberries, herbs enough for a year—and pumpkins. The patch went wild and produced 35 pumpkins from five plants, more than ever before.
God is in control of the harvest. We just plant and pray and wait—and give thanks for all He gives. What’s true for vegetables and fruits is true for any physical, spiritual, relational, or emotional endeavor.
Do the small, right things. Pray. Trust. Give thanks for the harvest God brings.
Though this might sound simplistic, I’ve been thinking long and hard about this principle. I’ve searched the scriptures and have found all these principles undergirded by God Himself. Do the next right thing. Pray. Have faith. Give thanks. God will work all for good—in HIS way—in HIS time—producing the harvest He wants.
So now, what to do with an abundance of pumpkins? Post them! Advertise God’s good harvest to all who come to the farm!
My dear husband—he has so many gifts I admire and give thanks for—but decorating is not one of those gifts. Until yesterday. I surveyed our farm and laughed joy as I witnessed what he did with all the pumpkins. As evidence, I have photos of all!
First, he gathered the pumpkin harvest in a tractor-pulled wagon. Then, he drove around our property looking for display places. The result? A clutch of pumpkins by the sunflower/zinnia bed, a group of pumpkins on the front porch steps, a family of three nestled together under the American flag.
And the smaller ones? The little pumpkins? Well, he figured they were so cute that they needed a place of prominence so as not to be overshadowed by the big, honking ones. So he raised them up, one-by-one, those humble little pumpkins, not near large enough for carving. He raised them up on the riding arena posts and on the stairway post to his outbuilding home office. You can’t help but notice them as you come up our drive.
I giggle every time I see these humble, elevated pumpkins, each on their own separate post. One-by-one, they rest secure, raised by another to a prominent place. Sure, the biggest pumpkins are beautiful and noticeable on the ground. And the largest will be carved and lit from within. But it’s the small and humble and would-be overlooked that Todd chose to raise up so all could see their worth too. These small ones did the best they could with growing, but didn’t become big like their peers from the same vine. And now, they have been elevated to a noticeable place, displaying what God has grown in a squash, giving joy. And I think—there’s no shame in these small ones. They’ve been faithful with what God has given, these humble ones. They don’t shout, “Look at me!” They don’t brag, “I’m better than you!” They didn’t get elevated to those posts of prominence by themselves. Someone raised them up.
And so we are like pumpkins, aren’t we? Some grow big and full and draw easy attention and honor. Some of us go unnoticed, and compared with the great and adored, sometimes wonder our worth. But in God’s economy—in God’s kingdom—all life has equal worth. And in God’s economy—in God’s kingdom, it’s the humble who recognizes their inability to produce any good thing apart from their Creator that cause their Creator, our good God, to take them—the small—the humble—the passed over—and RAISE THEM UP. Because our worldly way of thinking is not God’s way. Worldly success does not always equal spiritual success.
Case in point. My husband and I, from the world’s perspective, those who don’t know us well, look at us and think (because we’ve heard it over and over) . . .
These two are accomplished and such good people. He has a college degree from a private school in Economics. She has a college degree from a large university in Education with a minor from a prestigious music conservatory in Piano Performance. He has a graduate degree, an MBA and is a CPA. She is a Doctor of Clinical Psychology. He has a gift for finding start-up companies needing capital and has the nerves to invest large sums of money that have yielded huge financial returns. She has been a public speaker and teacher, an advocate for special needs, chaired multiple committees. He sits on a number of business Boards, advising and guiding them to success. They both are committed to inner-city missions to nurture young people holistically with the goal of ending the cycle of poverty in their lives and helping them see their value and purpose in God’s eyes. And they adopted three children, all with special needs.
Intelligence. Education. Career success. Financial success. Ministry success. Family success.
And yet? The most important thing we try to do in life is realize that we are nothing and have nothing without God. God has gifted us in every way for good works. And we want to use all the gifts He has given—that He has helped us develop—to glorify Him and advance His kingdom here on earth—making disciples, serving the suffering, working with God to redeem all that’s broken in this world with His help, restoring all to God’s original design.
And we realize we’re only simple clay vessels—just humble, needy people who seek the power of the One and Holy God to pour into us so we can pour out. We may LOOK like big, impressive pumpkins to the world. But we’re not. We’re the small ones lying on the ground waiting for God to work with us and through us, with all He has given us, to do whatever He has in mind. Because THIS is the secret to finding meaning and purpose and joy in this life. If he choses to put us, small as we are, on a post somewhere, we hope and pray that people will keep looking up, beyond the post, to see Him—the One who made us—the One who imparts every gift we have—the one who takes our small and simple efforts and grows them as He wills and produces the harvest He has planned—big or small—in His own time.
How pleasant it is to let go of trying to put ourselves on pedestals, seeking attention and adulation from others, and let God put us where He will, knowing that if we’re pleasing Him, it matters not what anyone else thinks—good or bad. It matters not whether the world elevates us. Our value—our importance is NOT based on the world’s assessment of us. We have found great and lasting peace in this way of living life.
So, bottom line? Big or small—seemingly impressive or not—be who God has grown you to be and leave the harvert to Him. And most importantly, be humble and give thanks for all He’s doing in your life—for all He’s growing in you. In due time, He will raise you up if you refrain from trying to climb the post by yourself.
Like a pumpkin can DO that with no legs and arms?! Let the Creator of pumpkins place us where He will, for our good—for the good of others—for the glory of God.
I asked our 22 year old daughter a simple question this week. She is unable to think beyond the present day and set goals. I asked her what her dream is—if she has any goals for this life—if she wants something else besides working as a janitor three hours every day.
“I just want to please God wherever I am, whatever I’m doing.”
She’s one of those little, often overlooked pumpkins in our world. Surely, with a heart’s desire like hers, she and others like her—no matter how big or small—will be the pumpkins raised to the most prominent posts—in the kingdom of God.
God humbles me daily through people like her.
Praise you Lord!
Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:16-17
This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD. Jeremiah 9:24
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. I Peter 5:6