October and November are pumpkin season. Everywhere we look, there are pumpkins. And, it’s almost time to experience the first pumpkin pie of the season! My wife makes the best and I can hardly wait!!
In the midst of the pumpkin euphoria, it would seem that pumpkin or pumpkin flavor will get added to just about anything. A trip to the store will afford you with a plethora of pumpkin-flavored choices: cereals, bread, pudding, peanuts, yogurts, coffee, coffee creamers, candy, fudge, and a host of baked goods. There is even Pumpkin Spiced Kool-Aid! Who said pumpkin was just for pies?
Technically, the pumpkin is a fruit and a member of the gourd family, related to cantaloupe, watermelon, and zucchini. With 45 different varieties available, every part of the pumpkin is edible, including the stem! And, if you are hungry for pumpkin, you can find them grown on every continent except one – Antarctica!
Colonial Americans as well as the Native Americans would use the pumpkin as a cooking pot, placing the ingredients of a recipe in the hollowed-out gourd which would be set upon hot coals. How did we get pumpkin pie? “The colonists sliced off the pumpkin top, removed the seeds, and filled the insides with milk, spices and honey. The pumpkin was then baked in hot ashes.” *
What else is interesting about this big orange fruit? Over 1.5 billion pumpkins are produced in the USA each year. However, we aren’t the biggest producers. China, India, Russia, and the Ukraine all beat the USA in pumpkin production. Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California are the top US pumpkin producing states with Morton, IL calling itself the “Pumpkin Capital of the World.”**, ***
The heaviest pumpkin tipped the Belgium scales in 2016 at 2,624 pounds. The American heavyweight came in close behind in 2018 in New Hampshire at 2,528 pounds. We Ohioans, though, can pat our backs in pride because we made the biggest pumpkin pie in 2010, a record yet to be beat. It was 3,699 pounds and over 20 feet in diameter! **** That’s going to take a LOT of Cool Whip!
Most pumpkin farms feature the “you pick” option where you get to go into the field and harvest your own. Kids love this option and their excitement bubbles as they get to pick their own pumpkin. So many choices!!
I am reminded of what Jesus said in John 4:35, “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white (or, orange!) already to harvest.” Orange dots fill the pumpkin field just begging to be harvested. And there are souls dotting the fields of the world, just waiting for the Christian to come and harvest them.
Now, I suppose that in the spirit of full disclosure, I should tell you that I’ve never personally harvested a pumpkin. I’ve gone to the farms and FOUND the pumpkin in a bin that someone else harvested, paid the money, and took my pumpkin purchase home. Some of you reading this are aghast with shock, I know! You cannot believe I would have passed up the opportunity to harvest my own pumpkin.
Let me deflect to the Scriptures. Concerning the fields of souls that are white unto harvest, Jesus said, “…The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few.” (Matthew 9:37) Rather than winning souls and bringing them into the church, we go into the bin (another church) and bring that “pumpkin” back to our church. That’s not how it’s supposed to be done!
Christians, we miss out on the joys of harvesting our own pumpkins – I mean, souls! We miss out because we want to take the easy approach and build our church through transfer rather than harvesting.
Today, most pumpkin farms are closed for the season. You’ll just have to go to the store and buy your Libby’s Pumpkin in a can for your pies. But the Lord’s fields are always open and just begging for workers to enter that field. Let’s work the Lord’s fields today.
Go harvest a pumpkin for yourself! It’ll be fun!