My father and I are having a problem: too many raspberries. I have a life, after all. I wait till they’re deep red going on purple to bring out the bucket again and head to the backyard, but can hardly keep up.
Same with the green beans. I mean, how many do you expect me to cook up with salt pork, or throw in with the Crock-Pot brisket, or give away? At first, upon discovering the glory of French beans last year—slender, delicate, forgiving, and never bloating to Mae West bulging proportions if you forget them for a while—my dad said to me, “This is the best thing that ever happened to me in my life.” Immediately he blushed after saying it, remembering, perhaps, that actually his salvation was the best thing that ever happened to him in his life. And maybe after that, his marriage.
But one almost has to forgive such exuberance. What do you do when you are so blessed with just the right amount of rain and sun that “the plowman … overtake[s] the reaper and the treader of grapes him who sows the seed …” (Amos 9:13, ESV). Well, you praise God for His abundant blessings, that’s what you do:
“Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance …” (Psalm 150:3–4, ESV).
We didn’t dance and were fresh out of lutes, but we sat down on the back steps with a cold drink, as is our custom after picking at day’s end, and my dad said he didn’t understand this bumper crop. I said, “Yeah, it’s like Jesus said in the parable (Mark 4:27-28, ESV), ‘He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.’”
Do you think this is how the apostles felt, running around scooping up 12 basketsful of leftover bread? Or the way Joseph felt during the seven good years in Egypt when they had so much extra that the nations came down begging? Or how Peter felt when Jesus waved his hand over an overfished lake and the net almost broke hauling up 153 flapping ones?
Brother James said (James 5:13): “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.”
There is a time for the one as well as the other in life. But at the moment my dad looks pretty happy. And the truth of the matter is that it’s no trouble at all for me to make another raspberry pie.