It was so uncomfortable one morning, and the blueberries so plenteous, their weight bending the boughs in deep arcs, that after the first half hour I became a little less careful in my picking. Often as I reached deep into the interior of a bush where I had seen several plump, ripe, dusky blueberries hanging, I simply wrapped my hand around the clump and gently nudged each one with my thumb. Berries that are ready to be picked will fall off the stem easily, and usually I pulled out a fistful of perfectly ripe ones. Once in awhile though, a red one appeared in my palm, and even a white or green one. Oh well, it certainly speeded up the process to pick that way, then toss out the bad ones, and it’s not like we had a measly crop this year.
I wonder sometimes if we aren’t too careful in our attempts to reach the lost. We have a bad habit of deciding who will listen before we ever start talking and our judgments are so different that the ones the Lord made. He cast his nets into a polluted river, hoping to save as many dying fish as possible; we cast ours into the country club swimming pool, but that is another metaphor for another time.
Sometimes we come across a blueberry bush with most of the berries still red, not quite ripe for the picking so we pass it by and leave a couple of big ripe ones, just begging to be put into the pie. It is too much trouble to go after them one at a time.
Other times we see a bush with quite a few plump ripe berries and instead of just reaching out and grabbing all we can, because there are a few not quite ready, we move to another branch. No need picking a handful when we might need to throw out half of them. And so we only reach for the easy ones, the ones that appeal to us because they look like the pictures in the cookbook and are easy to get to. Those showing a hint of red at the stem end might take a little more effort, a little more sugar in the pie filling. And because of that we miss some that would give our pie more flavor.
In another figure Jesus told us to sow the seed wherever we could, not take the time to map it into suitable planting zones. He said the world is ripe for picking. “Don’t cast your pearls before swine,” is about people who have had their chance and rejected it, not about us judging another’s suitability to be our brethren. Where would we have wound up if people had treated us that way?
Go pick some blueberries. Grab all you can and let the Lord decide which ones will make the best pie.
But when he saw the multitudes he was moved with compassion for them because they were distressed and scattered, as sheep not having a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, the harvest indeed is plenteous, but the laborers are few. Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest that he send forth laborers into his harvest, Matt 9:36-38