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Harvest Time and Sour Grapes

Then He said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest.”

Matthew 9:37-38

A few years ago we bought an old house with a small vineyard. We didn't realize at the time how much we would learn from our vineyard and how much of a blessing it would be. It is my happy place, one of my favorite places on earth.

It will be harvest time soon in our vineyard. Our vines will be heavy with grapes needing to be harvested, far more that we can pick on our own. Every year we invite anyone willing to come. Every year we harvest all that we can and still watch as many grapes wilt and fall to the ground because we couldn’t get to them in time. Muscadine grapes are not only incredibly delicious but also high in antioxidants so I hate to see any go bad when they could have benefitted someone..

The first year we had the vineyard I was out harvesting and the harvest was so plentiful that I literally could not keep up with it even though I was out there constantly. I posted on Facebook for help – asking friends to come and take all they wanted, I just didn’t want them to be wasted. Until we had a vineyard, I didn’t understand that when the harvest is ready, it is ready – NOW! It doesn’t wait for us to get around to it, it is NOT on our schedule. If we don’t get out there in IT’S timing, it rots on the vine. It seems that the IDEA of harvesting sounds great to many, but the REALITY of stepping out to do it is another thing. I understand that we all have busy lives and it is hard to add one more thing to schedules that are already jam packed, but this scripture was written to an ancient people that relied on the harvest they brought in for sustenance, there was no super market down the street. Bringing in their harvests were literally life and death, nothing was more important - life revolved around HARVEST, it had to, nothing else took precedent.

God loves to show us things about the Spirit through things in the natural, they mirror each other. As I stood in a vineyard completely covered in grapes that first year, literally hundreds of pounds of grapes… the “harvest was plentiful”… and I could not possibly harvest it all on my own… “but the workers were few”… “Pray to the Lord of the harvest, therefore to send out workers into His harvest”… It was not physically possible for me to harvest our vineyard alone and it is not physically possible to bring in a spiritual “harvest” alone. I was humbled that day because until then I hadn’t seen the pride in my heart about harvest. I wanted to be the one bringing Jesus to those that are hurting, seeing amazing signs and wonders, salvation, etc. in our city and around the world and I can, but there is FAR too much “harvest” for me alone – it takes MANY! As I looked at a harvest on the verge of rotting I finally understood that we ALL have to take our places, that I needed to pray for more workers in His harvest and help them to find their place! When harvest comes it is not about us or filling our “basket”, our church, when revival comes it will fill them all. That day as I looked at the grapes rotting my spirit saw them as the souls Jesus spoke of, in danger of no harvester. He saw each worthy of dying for. I pray to the Lord of the Harvest that we see the harvest as He does.

Sometimes we focus on certain “vines” and lose sight of the whole vineyard… Last year while I was out harvesting, a storm was coming so I was trying to pick quickly. We have a few vines that are my favorite. The grapes are big, sweet and delicious! As I was picking from one such vine I noticed a vine that the grapes were getting to the point of over ripe and at risk of being lost. This particular vine has grapes that are smaller and much more tart, almost sour and no one in my family particularly likes them. I was going to pass over this vine to get to another that I prefer when I felt the Lord stop me. Although these grapes are not what I might prefer does NOT mean that they have no value (although they are not great eating grapes, they make great jam, etc.). I thought of all the times that I was “passed” over by others that either couldn’t see my worth or chose what appeared to be more instantly appealing. How many times do we pass over what we see as “sour grapes”, those that don’t “fit”, the wounded, the broken, or those that just may be outside of our “click” outside our “tribe” – it’s a lot more work to make jam than it is to just pick and eat, but fresh grapes only last days, jam lasts years…

As I sit here typing this, inside my house, it’s getting dark and the trees obscure the view of the vineyard, I can’t see the vines or the grapes. But because I can’t see them does not mean they aren’t there. I have to get up off my chair, out of my house and into the vineyard. I could sit in my house all day long praying for harvest, but unless I go outside these walls to work in the vineyard, to search through the vines and leaves, for the grapes I could miss them completely. Harvest time is here, it is all around you. Maybe we need to get up out of the walls of our homes and our churches to see it. Maybe we need to stop looking for what we perceive harvest to be and open our spirit to harvest jam grapes, the ones passed over. There’s a vineyard out there, ripe with harvest… you may get a little dirty, it may be hard work, but it will be amazing.

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