Whoever serves me, the Father will honor”
(John 12:24-26, NRSV.)
Pumpkins are everywhere. The grocery stores are full of big ones for carving and small ones for baking. Every store in the city has them on display, and there are patches a plenty out in the country. They fill our pies, breads, and grande lattes. They are the signs of the season and symbols of abundance, reminding us during this harvest time that our cornucopias are full and our horns “runneth over.” I am haunted by pumpkins.
Of course, we have the obligatory set of misshaped decorative orange spheres in front of our house here in Ballwin, but we are going to be careful this October. A year ago, a couple of decorative gourds fell off our front porch wall in Joplin and landed in the flower bed below. We did not think too much of it until we noticed something unusual happening in the late Spring. Long vines appeared out of nowhere in our yard. They sprang up quickly and spread out even faster. It didn’t take long to realize we had an unexpected pumpkin patch in our front yard. Last year’s leftovers became this year’s bounty. Forgotten seeds found the rich soil, and the harvest was abundant.
We gleaned a couple of valuable lessons from this misadventure in horticulture. First, we have to pay better attention to what’s going on in our flower beds. Second, the things we plant, though often unseen, continue to grow through short cold days and long dark nights. All it takes is good seed and rich soil.
Beyond the pies and spiced lattes, pumpkins remind us there is abundance all around. As they grow, they show there is more than enough to go around. The minor deeds from a year ago grow into the bounteous gifts of today. All we need is good seed and rich soil.
Harvest time is also stewardship season here in the church. It is an opportunity to take stock, individually and collectively, of all the abundance around us. The Lord is constantly moving and providing good gifts, but we rarely have the vision to see it all. Stewardship is a time to breathe deeply, take stock, and thank God as we return a portion with full hearts. The good things of this year may quickly be forgotten if we are not careful. Perhaps, this is the lesson of the forgotten flower bed pumpkin seed. We give today, because we trust God will multiply the offering moving forward.
We will have our stewardship celebration here at St. Mark on Saturday, November 11 and Sunday, November 12. The soil is good, and the time is right. What are we willing to plant today for next year’s harvest?
In Hope and Confidence,