A few days ago, Bruce and I pulled pumpkin patch duty at our church.  We signed up for a two-hour watch and hoped we might sell a half dozen pumpkins or so for the good of the youth group who sponsored the event.  The church yard was a sea of bright orange delight as we surveyed the landscape and the thousands of pumpkins brought in by two tractor trailers from the west. There were pumpkins of all shapes and sizes, as well as gourds and other gifts of the harvest.  We put our own pumpkins aside and waited to see if the lunch time hours would bring any visitors to our garden.

It started out quietly with a young couple and a baby, posing their tiny tot on various pumpkins, determining which was bigger, the child or the pumpkin itself.   They enjoyed their photo moments, picked their pumpkin of the day and walked away pleased with the choice they made.  We then noted a young couple, clearly in love, making the choice of their pumpkin together as though nothing could be more important to their life and times.  After all, what says love more than a perfect pumpkin.  As they wandered off hand in hand, a family came with several young children.  The dad said something interesting.  He told the kids they could have any pumpkin they could carry.  I couldn’t help but think how that might be the very word God would give us when we wander around the planet.  We pick up things, sometimes not as sweet as pumpkins, but then we carry them until we’re exhausted.   The dad in our pumpkin patch, brought a wagon so that his young children could carry their biggest pumpkins and quickly put them down again where he would then carry them from there.  Hmmm…maybe we could learn to only pick up what we can carry and then put the weight of our choices down, letting God carry them the rest of the way.  Yes, that might make things less exhausting for us.

Then, there were the two ladies who arrived, teachers as it turned out, wanting some tiny pumpkins for their students.  I imagined they might want twenty or so for their classroom of kids, but instead, they wanted ninety.  Ninety!  As I began to count out the pumpkins, doing my best to get as many as possible that were the same size, pumpkin justice as it were, I also thought about how hard we try in this world to make things fair for each other.  We hope that we make choices that mean that others will be pleased and see the beauty of what we have to offer, but alas, one pumpkin is just a bit bigger than another, and someone sees the disparity.  “Your pumpkin is bigger than mine.  How can I be happy with the one I got?”  Ah, if we could only learn to be happy with what we’ve been given and see the beauty in our own portion!

Those teachers ended up purchasing about 135 pumpkins all in all.  No doubt, the school will reap the harvest in great joy and the Creator of the pumpkin patch, at least of the orignial Vine will be praised.

To say the least, what we thought might be a little volunteer work on our part, was an endless array of pumpkin parables.  No doubt, we were the ones blessed.  Let’s keep striving toward the simple things, the good things, the little things that are ripe for the picking and help each other walk away with the treasures only God can bring.

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