Straight from a Fruitful Heart
By Lisa Elliott
Do you get excited about autumn? I do! For me, this season of the year is, in many ways, more of a fresh start than January. As a child I remember getting excited about the first day of school with my brand new outfit, fresh pencil crayons, and unblemished notebooks. As a young mom raising four children I also got excited about the first day of school; but for different reasons. It was the day when I “reclaimed my territory” after having my kids along with their herd of little friends under my feet all summer long.
Fall is also an exciting time because it’s when we reap from our gardens all that we’ve sown, planted, and tended to throughout the spring and summer months. As a newly married city girl, I was privileged to serve alongside my husband and be welcomed among a friendly farming community in our first pastorate. As this group of people opened up their hearts and homes to us, not only did I reap a storehouse full of godly wisdom but also a wealth of practical household tips that included canning jams, fruits, and vegetables. Wouldn’t you agree that there’s something exhilarating about plucking fresh, crisp carrots out of the ground that you planted as a tiny seed months before? Then experiencing the joy of serving them to your family knowing that you played a part in producing them? Seeing the fruit of your labour is an incredible thrill!
In those early and fruitful years of ministry I met the Lord of the Harvest over and over again! It was while living in that community of believers that I obeyed the Lord’s command in Genesis 1:27 to be fruitful and multiply. I crafted a cross-stitch sampler of the Proverbs 31 woman that kept me focused on the household under my care in a very tangible way through those years of sowing into my children’s lives. I have been blessed over and over again at the harvest the Lord has and continues to produce.
I met the Lord of the Harvest (Matthew 9:35-38) when we bought our first home. Our neighborhood was ripe for the picking as the Lord allowed me to play a part in one neighbour after another entering into a personal relationship with the Lord, Jesus.
I’ve reaped the benefit of a fruitful harvest of godly and faithful friends through the years that are still blooming and growing to this day! Some have planted and others have watered as the Lord has caused my relationship with Him to grow (1 Corinthians 3:6-7).
If you’ve followed me for long, you know that I’m a visual and very tactile person. I like to physically live out some of the truths that the Lord and I are working to imbed them in my heart. So, I’ve taken very literally a “fruitful harvest” approach to my fall this year. (I think Jeremiah and I would have gotten along quite well.)
For starters, I’m choosing to more intentionally add more fruit and vegetables into my diet every day throughout this season. Besides, providing great nutrients and health for my body and mind, it’s also good for my soul—with each bite, praying the Lord of the Harvest. I plan to provide for my family this fall by cooking up some hearty vegetable soups and sweeten them up with some homemade apple pies!
I started this month out by reading Galatians, the book of the Bible where the Fruit of the Spirit is found. I then focused on the ways that I need to be producing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self – control (Galatians 5:22-23) in my day – to – dailies.
One day I fasted and prayed while I made salsa. Another day I pickled beets praying that I would not become weary in doing good, knowing that at the proper time I will reap a harvest if I do not give up (Galatians 6:9).
At every opportunity, I dawn a bracelet that a dear friend and sister in the Lord gifted me with during my son, Ben’s battle with leukemia. It has nine coloured gems—each one representing one of the fruit of the Spirit. It reminded me that as I planted myself by streams of water, daily investing in my relationship with Jesus that even during that year of drought I would not cease to bear fruit (Jeremiah 17:8-9). I wear it to church and also to speaking engagements; praying that God will produce lasting fruit as I sow the seed of His truth into hearts.
As I commence this new season of harvest, considering the vast wilderness that I’ve explored these past seven years since my son’s death, along with living through the desert expedition of a huge ministry transition, and more recently wandering through a sun-scorched land amid even more loss and crises that have taken place in our family’s life, I have taken Psalm 107:35-38 to heart and made it my prayer. It says, “He turned the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into flowing springs; there he brought the hungry to live, and they founded a city where they could settle. They sowed fields and planted vineyards that yielded a fruitful harvest; he blessed them, and their numbers greatly increased, and he did not let their herds diminish”.
You see, I have learned the secret of producing fruit that will last. It’s choosing to remain in the Lord—the Vine, in His love, and in His Word (John 15). Thanks to God’s gracious provision, I’ve been blessed with over thirty years of fruitfulness in ministry, in my family, in my marriage, and in my personal walk with Jesus. And I don’t know about you, but I want my life to continue to be fruitful and productive even into a ripe old age!
We reap what we sow (Gal 6:7b). What are you sowing? You’ll know by the fruit that you produce (Matthew 7:17-18). Why don’t you take some time as you enter this fall season to consider some ways that you can be more fruitful. While you’re at it, why don’t you listen to this throwback tune by the Imperials, “Lord of the Harvest”. Take some time to listen to the words and pray concerning your part in the Lord’s vineyard here .
About this Contributor:
Lisa Elliott is an inspirational speaker and award-winning author of The Ben Ripple and Dancing in the Rain. Additionally, she has written articles for Just Between Us Magazine and devotionals for theStory. She and her pastor-husband, David, have four children (3 on earth, 1 in heaven) and serve the Lord together in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
To book Lisa for a weekend retreat or day conference contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org