Philippians 4:12 "I know how to live when I am poor, and I know how to live when I have plenty. I have learned the secret of being happy at any time in everything that happens, when I have enough to eat and when I go hungry, when I have more than I need and when I do not have enough."
When I think of fall and the changing seasons, one thing that comes to mind are pumpkins. While driving along, we can find them everywhere we look. People use them for decorations, some carve funny faces in them, others use the filling for pies and the seeds for snacking. Pumpkins grow in many shapes and sizes and several colors. Like with many things, we can learn a few things from pumpkins too. I have attached a little story at the end you can read on your own but for now let's look at some spiritual lessons we can glean from a pumpkin.
· Be well rounded -1 Peter 1:5-8 “God’s power protects you through your faith until salvation is shown to you at the end of time. This makes you very happy, even though now for a short time different kinds of troubles may make you sad. These troubles come to prove that your faith is pure. This purity of faith is worth more than gold, which can be proved to be pure by fire but will ruin. But the purity of your faith will bring you praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is shown to you. You have not seen Christ, but still you love him. You cannot see him now, but you believe in him. So you are filled with a joy that cannot be explained, a joy full of glory.”
Although pumpkins are mostly round, a good pumpkin is evenly rounded. As Christians it is good for us to be well rounded in many things. We may be good at a couple of things and want to excel in that area, but Peter is telling us to expound on more areas and grow those areas too. To be more like Jesus, Peter is telling us that God wants us to become a strong Christian in all areas of life.
· Get plenty of sunshine -Ecclesiastes 11:7 “Sunshine is sweet; it is good to see the light of day.”
What grows a pumpkin best aside from soil and water. Sunshine of course. It gives the pumpkin nutrients it needs to grow. We all know that sunshine is a good source of vitamins and getting out in the sun is healthy. Like a pumpkin we can grow stronger when we allow ourselves some quality time in the sun.
· Give thanks for life's bounty -Deuteronomy 8:10 “When you have all you want to eat, then praise the Lord your God for giving you a good land.”
Pumpkins grow in a season of Thanksgiving when crops are gathered in at their fullness. We use pumpkins along with many other crops grown in the fields at Thanksgiving. The Lord promised us and the Israelites that our needs will be taken care of, which includes our meals. He is the one who sets the seasons in motion and helps our crops flourish. We should always have praise and thankfulness on our lips for the bounty the Lord provides.
· Have thick skin – 1 Peter 3:16 “But answer in a gentle way and with respect. Keep a clear conscience so that those who speak evil of your good life in Christ will be made ashamed.” Ecclesiastes 7:21 “Don’t listen to everything people say, or you might hear your servant insulting you.”
Have you ever tried to carve a pumpkin or cut one open? They can be quite tough to get through. They need to have tough skin to handle the wear and tear of the weather and the insects. Our life in God needs to be strong and thick like a pumpkin because there will be those who will fling mud at you. But when you keep a clear conscience before God the mud won't stick and they're the ones who will need a bath.
· Keep growing -2 Peter 3:18 “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Glory be to him now and forever! Amen.”
In a good environment a pumpkin will grow to its fullness. But it does need proper care to grow. We are told we will grow in God's grace and his knowledge when we take time to properly care for ourselves and walk with God. When we study and pray the Lord helps us grow.
· Be outstanding in your field -Ecclesiastes 9:10a “Whatever work you do, do your best,” Ecclesiastes 11:6 “Plant early in the morning, and work until evening, because you don’t know if this or that will succeed. They might both do well.”
We have a friend who grows pumpkins each year. When we go get our pumpkins, he always has his prize pumpkins for show and for sale. They can be exceptionally large and without blemish and I bet as he watches them grow, he smiles as they probably outshine the others in the field. We have been given charge to work on this earth since Adam. What Ecclesiastes tells us is that we should do our work in a way that is our best and glorify God.
· Think big -Ephesians 3:20 “With God’s power working in us, God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or imagine.” Romans 12:2 “Do not be shaped by this world; instead, be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect.”
Unless purposely grown small, pumpkins are meant to grow big and heavy. They don't set out to be small, they are made to be big. As Christians we are not meant to think small. We should always be thinking about the big picture. Things around us, this world, trials, and more. These are all small when we think about the Kingdom of God. Our life here on earth is but a small place when we think of our life in heaven. Our trials, although hard, are small when we think of how we can serve Jesus to bring His Kingdom and His coming soon. When we set our minds on God and off of this world, we will find a greater peace and be able to do so much more with God's plan for us.
So, today let's learn from the pumpkins. Let's rise above this world and its circumstances and draw closer to God. Every day of the year is a time to praise and thank God and follow Him.
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