Luke 6:46 "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and don't do the things which I say?"
The other day, a friend said to me that sometimes we fail to see what’s right in front of us. What she didn’t know is that she summed up perfectly the lesson I learned recently from our blackberry patch.
I have been praying all season for at least 8 cups of juicy blackberries to come from our patch. I have watched as they grew, blossomed, and attracted bumble bees. Little by little the blossoms turned to berries, they started to plump up, and then they started to ripen. I watched in anticipation as they started to darken, yet it always seemed that the biggest, juiciest, ripest berries were always just out of my reach on the other side of our fence. We own the woods on the other side, so it isn’t that I couldn’t go back there if I wanted to. It IS our property, but it is also where the “wild things” are!
We have been warned since moving in about rattle snakes being seen up this way, so we are very cautious about stepping into the woodsy zone unprotected, unprepared. Every day, though, those juicier, darker berries would tempt me, and every day I would say to myself, “Tomorrow I am going into the woods to get those!” In the mean time, I picked what I could easily find, finally ending up with about 4 cups which was just enough to make a batch of syrup for French toast and two servings of blackberry sorbet.
Sadly, I watched so many berries farther away fall to the ground, over-ripe, rotting as every day I said the same thing, “Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow." Finally one day I decided THIS IS THE DAY I am going into the woodsy zone. I was even going to dress for success with jeans, hat, long sleeves, herbal spray, boots, the works.
It didn’t take long, though, to change my mind and say, “FORGET IT! Not going.” Two things happened. First, my husband said that even if I picked them, he would not eat them because I went against his wishes and advice by going in the dangerous area where I should not have gone. He then reminded me of all the snakes that had been seen recently by neighbors. Then second: I had a friend post that she had found a timber rattler in her yard where she had never even seen ANY kind of snake before, let alone a venomous one. Reasons enough for me to finally admit it is not worth a couple of cups of blackberries to take such a chance.
Now, let me back track for just a moment to about several weeks ago: I got the impression that I should trim back the wild vines growing in the fence, and cut more of the overhanging tree branches, as well. I had trimmed a few that were obviously in the way earlier in spring, but not as much as I should have. For weeks I kept getting the impression to trim more. Yet I ignored it. Over and over again I ignored it, all the while complaining about my meager harvest and how I couldn’t reach the “best berries.”
Finally, the other day, I broke a branch off one bush that was in the way when I realized it was tangled in some grapevines that had worked their way through the fence in dozens of places. For me to finish the job I would need to trim A LOT of the fence area, on BOTH sides. The best part is that I could easily reach everything that needed trimming from a safe spot in the vegetable garden and not enter the woodsy zone. It was finally time to get to work.
As I cut and cut, you cannot imagine the feeling of repentance that washed over me, and the need inside of me to ask forgiveness for my ignorance and disobedience. You see, as I trimmed, I discovered that there were countless blackberry bushes hiding under all that nonsense, right in front of us.
You could clearly see that at one point, those bushes had been FILLED with blackberries. The obviously once-loaded stems were now hanging there, dried and empty of any juicy blackberries. Those had now rotted and fallen to the ground, wasted, instead of into our pantry as jelly and syrup for fall. It was very clear that had I paid attention to the impressions earlier in the season to trim away the old weeds, cut back on the “nonsense,” we would have had much more than the 8 cups we needed for one batch of jelly. We might have had more than enough for so much more.
Sometimes life is like that, too. We don’t listen to the directions from Yahweh, we don’t trim the weeds and over growth of negative things. We refuse to pay attention to the blessings that are right under our noses. Now Yahweh is busy trying his hardest to make up for my request of 8 cups of berries by showing me previously undiscovered small bushes with a few berries here or there left to add to the bag I have in the freezer. Whatever we do pick is a true blessing.
It is my prayer that we get enough for a full batch, but either way, it is clearly my own fault if we do not. Lesson learned. Moving forward, and praising Yahweh for what we DO have.
Blessings and shalom.
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Lead Author (Bio)
Jim, (Judi's husband), has Sephardi Jewish ancestry and is a minister and head of Shofar Productions. Jim was a denominational pastor, hospital chaplain, and former director of a non-profit community organization.
Torah For Women
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