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Autumn Foliage

They Are Ripe for Harvest

"I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest." John 4:35

In most areas of our country where fields were seeded in the spring, crops are becoming ready for harvest. Farmers plan for a whole year to bring in the harvest. One of the greatest blessings I received at the beginning of my years of serving congregations as pastor and minister was being appointed to rural, farming communities. Learning about farming and agribusiness, watching the seasons in farming families’ lives, seeing the faithfulness and “all hands needed” work ethic of each family and the community together. All of these experiences helped me grow in faith and discipleship. Farmers prepare the machinery during winter, plant seed in the spring, and cultivate and irrigate, if necessary, in the summer. It's a busy time, but it's all for one purpose: to bring in a bountiful harvest. This gathering of abundance is what all the other work is for. It is the harvest that is the farm’s focus and purpose. When the crops are ready, all other work on the farm that could be done is not nearly as important as getting the harvest in. It's the number-one priority.

It is a great blessing in this new program season to see the influx of new faces amongst us. Thanks to the Fellowship Committee in getting name tags for each and all so we can start putting names to faces. There is a certain “harvest” in the life of a congregation. It is helping first time visitors to become engaged regular attenders in our lives togeth- er, helping them feel more connected and more a part of the church family. We had to order over 30 new name tags for folks who have become “family” in the life of our congregation! All the “work” of the church is to accom- plish the saying on the new banners in the sanctuary which will hang till Advent: “To know Christ Better – To Make Christ better known”. This is what we’re about as followers of Jesus. Now is the time – this is the season.

Jesus often used the metaphor of harvest to describe the urgency and importance of helping to bring believers into God's kingdom. By starting with a casual conversation at a well and recognizing a truly deep need, Jesus brought living water into the life of a Samaritan woman. And because of the responses of the woman and of many others from her town, Jesus stayed two days, and "many more became believers."

The disciples needed to have their vision corrected. They thought they had lots of time to look for the harvest. But this wasn't just something to do when they "got around to it." The Bible is clear about the importance of the mission and our involvement in it. I encourage you to prayerfully consider and discern how you can intentionally work to- ward the “harvest” in the life of GRUMC. Could you help in worship – as an usher, greeter, nursery staff, assist the acolytes, teach a Sunday School lesson, be a part of the media team?

Maybe its serving on a committee to help the church live out is calling in mission and ministry? I encourage you to join a fellowship group; Men’s Breakfast Group, one of our women’s small groups, Youth Fellowship, join a bible study, have your children come to the Discovery Zone (Sunday School) on Sunday mornings. These are not the full list of ways to participate and help “bring in the harvest” in the missions and ministries of Grand Rapids United Methodist Church.

And maybe (actually, I’m sure) one of the most important and powerful ways is inviting and bringing a friend to church with you! Let us all give ourselves to the harvest work of our church and watch what God will do!!

Be God’s,

Pastor Jim

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