Today I visit a neighbor’s house. She planted an enormous garden, and while she’s in and out with all her travels, she invited me to harvest her wonderful beans, tomatoes, squash, rhubarb, and my favorite: her raspberries.
I’m slinking my way into the berry patch with my silver bowl to get the hardest to reach raspberries. It feels wrong to harvest what I did not plant and to gain such juicy joy out of all her labor.
She’ll never get to enjoy all this, I say to myself as I stuff a few berries into my mouth. She’ll never even know everything her worked produced.
I realize that she’s free from something I still have desperately to learn. She’s free to plant and enjoy gardening (what she loves most of all) and leave the harvest to others. She’s free of the need to see the impact of her labor, the gift of it, and the blessing to others. She’s not even thinking of it. She too busy fulfilling her calling elsewhere.
There’s something right and good about the hidden harvest that you never see.There’s something beautiful about creating something or working hard and releasing its impact as a secret that only the Lord knows. It saves us from pride, from greed, and from basing our worth on our impact. It saves us from exalting ourselves, building our own kingdoms, and glorying in fame and influence.
As I’m now almost hidden in the berry patch (if you drove by those were my legs and rear end sticking out), I thank God for hiding certain things from me (both good results and bad) for my own good.
It’s better to live free and ripe for the world without any concern for who happened to be blessed by you. Because when our impact becomes our concern, we rot like berries left too long in the sun.
I’m ashamed to admit this, but after a particularly large speaking event last year, I found myself relishing all the attention. I felt like a celebrity; I was recognized in public, sought out for advice, and photographed. After leaving the stage after my last talk, my assistant for the day swept me off the stage, pushed me into hiding along the dark corridor, and practically kidnapped me. She had me in the passenger seat of her car and was speeding away from that event before the applause even died out.
“Wait!” I screamed. “What about all the people who might want to talk to me?” I said this as I actually checked my lipstick in the mirror.
“They don’t need you. They need Jesus,” my friend said and sped on, far away from the crowd. She didn’t even compliment me. She didn’t even tell me I did a great job.
It was one of the best moments of my year.
We drove off to enjoy our day, and I had no idea what kind of impact my speaking had on anyone. It didn’t matter. They didn’t need me, anyway. They needed Jesus, and I was getting in the way.
That moment, I felt saved from myself. This is the moment I thought of when I was hidden inside the raspberry patch, picking fruit I had nothing to do with.