What a wonderful time of year! It’s a joy to go to a local farmer’s market these days and see all the delightful fresh produce available. Even the local supermarket is noticeably stocked with much more healthy looking fruits and vegetables; you can actually find a tomato that looks and tastes like a tomato, instead of the styrofoam-like things you get at other times which Garrison Keillor jokes are “strip mined down in Texas.”
It is a wonderful blessing to be able to enjoy the fresh bounty of the harvest. Of course, we also recognize that those delicious fresh fruits and vegetables didn’t simply pop out of the ground of their own accord. It is a regular occurrence these days, when driving by local orchards or gardens, to see laborers hard at work harvesting the treats that will soon reach our tables. In recent months you may have been able to observe farmers planting the vast fields around the Midwest (when the rain quit long enough to allow them!); now it is easy to observe the work of harvest. A great deal of labor goes into the vast and diverse results that we get to enjoy at our tables.
It’s easy to notice how much slower things are around Athens this time of year as well, as those of you who have lived here during this time can attest. All the hustle and bustle of the school year has subsided, and one can more peacefully navigate the streets of Athens. You can even find a parking spot uptown these days! But it won’t be long before another Fall is upon us, and the busyness of the school year resumes. During that time, it will be easy to see all the work that goes into the ministry at ROC. One can readily spot the labors of staff and students in the midst of retreats, Crosswalks, outreach, and service events. The work that yields the bountiful blessings of life together in this community are quite visible when classes are in session.
I am currently struck, however, by the vast amount of work that happens even when things appear more calm on the surface. In the case of that tomato or raspberry you may have recently enjoyed, there are so many important processes that must be accomplished during the late fall, winter, and early spring to allow that produce to grow to its full potential. There is watering, fertilizing, pruning, weeding, and many other processes that even happen out of our view; it is more difficult to always see the important things that happen outside of the more visible harvest season.
So it is with ministry. As we move through this season, there is so much to be done! There are lessons to be planned, new students to be contacted, curriculums to be tweaked or developed, etc, etc. etc… We recognize that although this seems like more of a fallow time for ROC, it is an extremely important time, and will make all the difference in the world to what ministry looks like this Fall. We thank you for the support you provide, whether in thought, prayer, or financially; although often unseen on the surface, your labors are vital to the harvest of discipleship that occurs yearly. Your support also enables us to faithfully prepare for that harvest, both “in season and out of season”—Thank You! May you also find yourself blessed as you continue to serve where you are, and in whatever season of life you find yourself. And please do me this favor...go find yourself a nice ripe tomato and enjoy it!