My father used to assign chores for me to do on a weekly basis, and for those that I accomplished, a reward was given. Depending on the season in my childhood, my savings from my allowance of money given to me from my chores, went for a toy or piece of sporting equipment.
If I had only known how much the value of these beloved transformers toys were back in the eighties, I would have never allowed my mother to sell them at a garage sale to buy the newest fad.
One of the most challenging chores ever bestowed on my assignment list by my father was to weekly pick up rotten, spoiled, and ruined apples from the green lush floor of the apple orchard. Painfully distasteful and uninteresting in various aspects, I was summoned weekly to endure the back-breaking task of collecting all of the apples into a large bucket. I would separate the slightly bruised apples from the completely smashed apples into different buckets. Some of the apples could be salvaged and used by my father, while others had to be thrown out. After filling the bucket with bee stinging filled rotten apples, I'd drag the contents to a nearby corn field to dump the apples over the fence to provide mulch for the upcoming crops.
There was always a procrastinator's worst nightmare involved in this process. I hated to complete this chore and would delay and wait weeks before finally getting out there to pick up apples from the ground. My father would consistently remind me every other, if not every day about the forever ongoing chore of picking up apples. Patiently, he always gently spoke to me.
"Danny," he would call out to me, "the apples need to be picked up today." He always called me Danny while growing up.
I was more interested in riding my bike, playing baseball with friends, and riding horses with my sisters. To pick up apples off the floor warranted another laborious day of prisoned and shackled orders of pain. My father warned of the dangers of abstaining from the apple picking up process. He shared with me the risks of worms getting into the apples, then heading towards the trees. If the worms made it to the trees, it was all over for the apples.
I noticed through the years that the longer I waited to pick up the apples and the longer I resisted to obey my patient father, the more painful the apple picking up process was. I realized that the apples weren't going to just go away easily. After one week, the apples were slightly mushy. After two weeks, they were applesauce on the ground.
I think that we're all called to pick up apples.
The mission and vision to harvest in the fields for Jesus Christ is a call. Its not always a call that some of us want to answer, but nonetheless, its a call. The call to serve in the work of the Lord Jesus Christ is required of all of us. We all need to serve and pick up apples. We all need to contribute somehow to the harvest of the field. I feel sad when I see some people that don't listen to the call of Jesus. They say that they do what Christ wants them to do, but in reality, the prefer to sit and watch the apple picking up process from a distance.
To not pick up apples is to risk allowing people to suffer and spoil and die away. If I had only obeyed my father when he asked me to go out on a regular basis to pick up apples in the orchard, I would have had a much better experience. It would not have been so painful to pick up crispy slightly spoiled apples, however, to pick up mush was messy. Not to mention that if I didn't listen to my father's orders, the sticky and oozy apples sometimes summoned hornets, wasps, and bees. The increasing risk of getting hurt while picking up apples went up with further procrastination. I think if we listen to Jesus and quickly respond, the experience can be less painful.
If we ignore the call to answer Christ in serving, harvesting, and working in the fields, we find ourselves disobedient. No matter how long we choose to not listen to Christ's calling, the task still needs to be accomplished. There will always be apples laying around, waiting to be cleaned up, and if we don't do the job, the remains of the apples will get thrown out.
With only a few bruises on the apples after recently landing on the ground, one can still use those apples for good purposes. However, those apples that have been laying for weeks, are no longer recognizable.
I guess I understand my role as Jesus has called me to live in this dirty, dusty, and barren land of the hill. I'm to pick up apples off the ground before they waste away and spoil. Sure, they've got some bruises, but still are precious and valuable in the eyes of God. I just want to respond and obey the call that Christ has put on my life.
Since we're all called to work in the field, what is our role? I have found mine. Some of us prefer to pick apples off the tree, while others prefer to prune back the branches to allow more growth and strength for the tree. Some people prefer to spray the trees and apples to prevent from further damage occuring. Some people prefer to actually plant the tree in places where trees have never grown before, while others prefer to go to the tree nursery and purchase the small tree.
I prefer to pick up apples off the ground. Its all apart of the restoration process and I know that I have been restored by Jesus Christ.
Have you been working with apples lately? Have you picked some apples off the ground?
What is your call ? Where do you fit in the photograph below ?