Learning Life Lessons while picking pecans – who would’ve thought? But here are 5 Life Lessons Learned in the Harvest.
One week left of October, and Mississippi has finally realized it’s fall. The temperatures are falling, and so are the pecans. I spend hours each day walking circles around the trees, picking up the nuts one by one and thinking about life in light of the harvest we’re having.
Life Lessons: Don’t Give Up
There are a few simple truths I’ve been reminded of each time I go pecan picking.
First, as I mentioned last week, don’t give up. The harvest will happen so we have to hold on to hope. Even when we don’t see how God is working, we can be absolutely sure he is.Even when we don't see how God is working, we can be absolutely sure he is.Click To Tweet
After all, “Hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” (Romans 8:24-25)
Life Lessons: The Power of Persistence
As we wait, however, we have to work. We have to obey, and that can be tough at times. One thing I’ve noticed about picking pecans is the fact that, to find all the pecans, I often have to walk the same ground over and over again.
We have to do the same in our lives, don’t we?
Whether it’s a sin or a pattern that takes time and effort and commitment to overcome or a prayer we have to just keep praying, there is power in persistence.
Victories in our lives are very seldom one and done, are they?
Life Lessons: We Work Better Together
I can’t tell you the number of times I have picked up a pecan right at the feet of another member of my family. Sometimes, we step right over the pecans and never even notice.
That’s why we work better together.
What I miss, they pick up on and vise versa. We help one another. After a couple of hours of picking pecans, having one of my kids bring me a water bottle or carry my bucket is the sweetest service and encourages me to keep going.
We set goals for one another, too. My son never minds working, but I’ve noticed he needs to know the goal he’s working toward. If we just tell him to go pick pecans, he might just melt down. The task is too large; it overwhelms him. But if we tell him to fill one bucket, he gets it done.
His focus on the goal and a desire for a “stopping point” keeps me in line, too. Saturday, he took my bucket from me and walked back toward the house. The Ole Miss game was about to start, and he didn’t want me to miss it. (He might have wanted me to make lunch, too.)
I’m task-oriented so I need someone to make me stop sometimes. His desire to be done balances my tendency to stay until I pick up EVERY LAST PECAN.
That’s why I don’t go to Kenya alone, and I think it’s probably part of the reason Jesus sent the disciples out two by two.
We work better together. Our gifts complement each other, and our different experiences and skills offer understanding and insight. When we go it alone, we risk missing what God might be doing just like when my family steps right over the pecans we’re picking.
Life Lessons: Examine the Fruit Before You Throw it Away
I know it’s true that you can tell a lot about a tree from the fruit it produces, but all of this pecan picking has made me realize that you can’t always tell what’s on the inside by looking at the outside.
Some perfect-looking pecans are absolutely rotten. Other questionable-looking nuts are perfectly fine.
We can’t judge too quickly. Fruit must be examined closely.
There are so many ways this is true in our lives, from dealing with other people to deciding on ministries to participate in or support.
I once knew someone in ministry who was very difficult for me to work with. Honestly, I began avoiding every opportunity to do so. The temptation I faced was just to write the person off and “not like” him.
But there was fruit. So much fruit – people who came to Christ and others who were discipled.
No matter how I felt, the fruit of the man’s ministry was evident. My attitude changed as I watched God work.
Life Lessons: The Best Blessings are Sometimes the Hardest to Find
I’m glad I was able to see the way God used someone I had questions about because it taught me that he sees things I don’t.
Pecan picking is teaching me the same thing. Every day, I find a handful of pecans that have almost been buried. I kind of have to dig them out of the dirt.
But they’re beautiful once I dust them off. They just got pushed down a bit farther than the others and needed a bit more help coming back up.
They are every bit worth the effort though because sometimes the best blessings are the hardest to find.
Every time I find a pecan like that I think of the parable Jesus told about the man who found the pearl of great price. After much searching, the prize was worth every penny he had.
Every time I find a half-buried pecan, I’m thankful I kept looking.
Just like when I keep looking for the good in a situation that seems all bad. Or when I find a friend in an unexpected place or person.
They are treasures worth the time and effort.
Just like all the pecans I’ve picked.
I’d love to hear from you this week about something in your life that’s teaching you lessons. I’d also be thrilled to have you join us this week for Encouraging Word Wednesday!