Into the Orchard

The sun rises and shimmers across the tops of the trees with the start of the day. You stand there looking out to what is set before you. You’re there to pick the apples in an orchard and bring in the crop. You’re there picking handful after handful until your arms are overflowing with apples!! You are making trip after trip across the farm back to the storage barn to drop them off and feeling so blessed by the number of apples that are ripened. Every trip affirms what you’re doing and you’re doing GREAT work there for the orchard. You can’t think of anything you’d rather be doing.

But what if?
What if before you got there you had made yourself a basket to put the apple in. You could carry five times as many apples!! What a blessing that would be! Now you’d be making so many less trips across the orchard to drop off that which you’re picking. You would be filling several barrels more with apples every day then if you were doing it by hand! Truly you would be blessed by how much more productive your labor is than without the basket! There is no way that you would consider doing this work without it. Your labor is so obvious as you stand at the door of the storage facility looking back on what your work that day brought in!

But what if?
What if we spent more time preparing a backpack? A backpack that let you carry three times as many apples as the basket alone! Every time you would fill the basket you would empty it into your backpack and then continue picking, two times you could empty that basket into the backpack before you bag could hold no more. After filling the basket again you could then head back to store the apples. Now you’re filling a whole barrel every time you reach the storage barn (it’s a heavy load at first but you bulk up and are able to handle it with ease after a couple days of work). At the end of the day it takes two hands to count all the barrels of fruit that you brought in.

But what if?
What if you had taken the time to make a truck? A truck that could carry nine barrels through the orchard with you and you would be able to fill the barrels as you walked the aisles of apple trees. You wouldn’t need to go back all the way across the orchard every time your bag and basket got full!! You wouldn’t even need the backpack anymore because it would take just as long to pour the fresh apples into barrels on the truck. How much more of that field could you harvest in a day! How much sooner until your work would be completed!! You could do a truckload of apples before lunch where before it would take a whole day to fill nine barrels of apples. The satisfaction and blessing of looking back on your work at the end of the day would be that much greater!

But what if?
What if you weren’t alone? That as you were building that truck and people asked you about what you were doing, and showing interest. What if you were to talk to them, tell them what it’s for and got them to help! How much sooner would the truck be ready to drive (I know nothing about engines so it would take me quite some time on my own), how much readier for the harvest will you be, then think of the speed at which you AND your friends could harvest that orchard when you get there. Truckload after truckload each day would be brought back into storage. Each of you helping to fill the barrels till there is no way to stack more into each one, basketful after basketful till every barrel was full time and time again! As you stood there next to your truck picking apples, watching those around you laboring away, everyone singing and joking, could you imagine doing it alone with nothing but your own arms. The task would seem impossible!

Why now?
When the harvest arrives the sight of it will leave you overwhelmed and taken back. So great is the view before you that you see your own arms and realized that you need something more and try so hard and feverishly to make a truck to speed up your work. You are wasting the harvest! You’ve spent your life to get to this point, to be where God has placed you to work and you see that now you desire to have more! How much easier would it be to add onto a truck then to try to make the truck? How much less effort to make a trailer to double the number of barrels you could carry? It would take a tenth the time to make a trailer because you already know how to make the truck! What if you had so many people with you that you were able to even make a whole other truck to double your efforts! It’s so important to get to the point where we are so prepared for the bountiful harvest that is coming to us. The time is coming when the angles will call out to us and tell us to reap “because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe” (rev 14:15) and how grand is all the earth!

So what’s the catch?
Unlike the person in this story who was going into the apple orchard we don’t know where in life God will place us to serve His Kingdom (our personal Orchard). This is where your faith to earnestly seeking after Christ is important. God desires us to be as prepared as we can be for what he has to set before us, though we don’t know what that plan is. God does and He knows what we need to be there with our truck (a plethora of spiritual knowledge, tools and gifts), with our friends (brothers and sisters in Christ). Honestly you will be pretty confused as to why you are learning the things He desires to teach and show you without knowing where you’re going to labor later in your life. You might even think that making a backpack (having less spiritual knowledge, tools and gifts) to work with would be enough because it’s so much more work to build that truck. Even more work when you can’t see and don’t understand how it will be used. This is why it is important to have faith and believe that God is working in your life to be building you up for where He wants to use you (could be in ministry, teaching, or business, in addition to our daily lives). God will bless you and reward you for your labor in something as simple as preparing yourself! Everyone working for the kingdom is blessed but the man who is able to do more work is blessed more through their roll in bringing in apples (people) into storage (salvation).

Our walks with Christ in college are so similar to the preparation that would go into creating the basket, the backpack, or even the truck. The more that you seek after God, take steps to grow in faith, the more you’ll grow into the person of God that He desires you to be and you’ll be the person who is ready for the harvest with a truck full of spiritual knowledge and tools. It is so easy to loose our heart and motivation when your efforts seem fruitless but take solace in scripture “because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Cor 15:58)!! That even as you are seeking hard after him to become more refined in Gods hands He has a reason for what he is teaching you. That He desires to teach you and show you these things so that your truck is ready for the dawn of tomorrow when the harvest in your field is ready! So when you see the fields ripe in the world and ready for harvest that you are ready to go and don’t need to be learning how to make your truck while you’re trying to use it. Continually seek hard after him so that we can reach the world for Christ. Seek after Him so that the world will realize who He with our generation.

How do I?
As God calls out your name to you don’t sit there waiting, He wouldn’t call out to you if you weren’t ready for what He wants to reveal! You already have everything you need to be molded into the person of God that He desires you to be. It’s in your bible, the word of God for you to learn from. When those words were written down He had you in mind, so that you could read them and grow in Him. If you are looking for somewhere to start really focus on prayer. Prayer is how we truly seek out Christ and humble ourselves before His throne. Practice listening to what he has to show you in His word, it will get easier to hear Him with time, and practice. While Gods voice may not thunder down from the heavens, it can shake your life if you are listening for Him to speak to you and learn where to listen. He communicates to all of us in different ways and at different times (see 1 Kings 19:11-13). That is why it’s important to seek out Christ to give Him praise and ask Him to teach you. Then you’ll grow into the person of God that He needs you to become for the harvest he has waiting for you. That when your day of labor for the harvest is done seek after Him once again to praise Him and to ask him to prepare you for tomorrow!

“I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears” Psalm 34:4
“Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.” 1 John 3:21-22

Written on 22 September 2004 by Paul Prins