Picking Grapes

Thoughts Along the Way©

Elaine Mehn

 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. Galatians 5:13

             I grew up in north-eastern Iowa in a small town where my parents had a large garden which included some grape vines. I was never known for my love of gardening but being a part of the family meant picking strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, and assorted vegetables, picking up fallen apples and digging potatoes. Of all of these, the hardest was picking grapes. They have no thorns like raspberries or gooseberries and they are not on the ground with all the back breaking stooping so why were they so hard? Because we were just barely far enough south for grapes to ripen before the killing frosts, my dad would wait to the last moment before picking the grapes. Usually this meant that after supper Dad would announce that tonight the grapes had to be picked so we picked the grapes in the cold and in the dark with flashlights. There were years of my growing up when I wondered if grapes had to be picked in the cold dark in order to have a better flavor. Despite my not enjoying picking grapes, I always enjoyed homemade grape juice and grape pie. These made all the hard work worth the effort.

            I am no longer a girl picking grapes but I have found that life is very much like grape picking in that there are things that come along that are hard and un-enjoyable but they lead to great blessing either for myself or others. Life is not always easy or smooth – not even the Christian life. But if I allow God to be in charge then I can rest assured that all the hard work and/or confusion is of value. Sometimes God allows me to see and experience the end result – drink the grape juice or eat the pie. And sometimes He asks me to live by faith rather than sight by not showing me the blessing that someone else has received because of my obedience.

Honestly, I much prefer the times when I get to see the results and take part in the rejoicing. The problem for me in seeing what God chooses to do through me is that I then want to take the credit or at least some of the credit for myself. I want the blessing to be about me rather than about God being glorified. I want the grapes (the results of my hard work) to be sweeter because I picked them in the dark and cold rather than because God grew them. I want my life to be about me instead of about Jesus who hung in the cold and the dark that I may live and enjoy life’s sweetness.


Prayer: Father, I am ashamed to admit that I am so self-centered and self-glorifying. I need You to teach my heart afresh that it is not about me and who sees my good deeds but it is about Jesus and who sees His glory. Teach me in ever deepening ways to come in repentance and humility so that I can rejoice in being Your child. I want to be willing to pick grapes even if it is in the dark and even if You give the grapes to others for their blessing. Give me the heart of a servant.


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