I love berries. I think they might be my favorite food. I have have blueberries,red raspberries and black raspberries all growing in my yard. Blueberries are far and away my favorite, but I love them all. I would like to say that it is because I am so health conscious and constantly aware of the vitamins and antioxidants and whatnot that I consume, but, I just really like the way they taste.
Right now we have loads of ripe berries in our yard. I was outside picking some this morning. In fact, I just finished a bowl of cereal topped with berries from our yard.
While I was picking today I started to think about the time Jesus said that the fields were “white unto harvest.” Jesus was referring to people who were in need of ministry. I had never thought of it before, but apparently there is some sort of “ripening” process. Some people must be more “ripe” than others, or, more ready to be ministered to. It kinda makes sense. As I was picking berries I also noticed how easily a ripe berry is harvested. When you pick a ripe berry you have to do little more than touch it and it falls off of the bush. But when you jump the gun and try to harvest a berry that isn’t quite ripe, there is resistance. Often some tugging, and fighting are necessary to get it off.
Some people certainly are more receptive of Jesus’ love and the Good News, while others want little to do with it. So, as I gathered my harvested, I started thinking about the ripening process. What changes one of these hard, little, unripe berries, that refuses to be separated from their stem, into a tender, ripe berry that is easily gathered? Exposure to the sun.
I think this awareness of a “ripening” will help me to have the right mindset when spending time with non-believers. I don’t need to spend my time tugging and twisting and struggling. If they are not “ripe” they simply need more exposure to the Son. Simply by allowing God to use me as an expression of His love, and allowing His Spirit to be active in my life, the “ripening” is in progress.