It’t no secret. Those of you who know me well realize that fall is my favorite time of year. Summer is second, but fall is by far and away my favorite season. By the way, in case you are interested, after summer, I like spring and finally, winter. In fact, I could really live quite nicely if we didn’t have to deal with the snow and cold so common during the winter months.
The last week or so we have seen strong evidences that fall is on the way. Leaves turning colors, a chill in the air, fields of corn and soybeans ready for harvest; and then, of course, the calendar turned to October 1st today. Several days ago, we bought the mums and fall plantings for the yard – we even picked out a pumpkin to place by the front door until we carve it several weeks from now in anticipation of Halloween.
One of the things that Janet and I love to do is head north of our home 15 miles or so to a local farm stand where we purchase fresh fruit, great cheeses, homemade granola and other produce items that just seem to taste better when they are purchased from a farm stand – just brought out of the fields the same morning morning. They also have some seasonal items such as gourds, apple cider, caramel apples and pumpkins that people never seem to get enough of this time of year.
Speaking of the pumpkins, I was amazed earlier today at how many pumpkins they have for sale. In fact, not only are they inside – they are outside everywhere. In fact, several of the car parking spaces are filled with these large orange pumpkins just waiting to be taken home and made into pies or carved into faces for Halloween. I was beginning to wonder what a huge job it must be to move everything inside every night.
But just then, I saw a little white container with a slot in the top, as well as a cut-out large enough to stick your hand in to. It said, simply, “Pumpkin money.” The plastic “bucket” wasn’t secured to a table or anything else. In fact, the lid snapped on – it didn’t have a lock either – and the opening was large enough to reach in and take money out! My immediate impulse was to question how smart this was to leave money out in the open – assuming people left any money at all. It crossed my mind that there must be many folks who would just drive by after hours and steal their pumpkins.
Then I remembered that we were in a rural farming community; a place where people are interdependent – they count on one another – and it probably wouldn’t cross their mind that people would really steal from each other. This country was built on people helping people and trust was a primary ingredient in the success of our country. It was gratifying to see the bucket and label – somehow affirming the trust that ownership had in the people of the community.
In these days of conflict and hatred – even sitting down during the National Anthem – the nation seems sorely divided. In fact, more so than in recent years. Yet here, in this little out of the way place, all seemed right with the world. It was great. All because somebody placed a small handwritten note on a little white bucket.
The verse for this evening is from the writer of Hebrews, who tells us, in Hebrews 13:18, “Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.” Those are wise words for all of us to live by. It has often been said that character is how we behave when nobody is watching – and that’s exactly what the owners of the farm stand are betting on – people of character. It seems like a good bet…
My encouragement this evening is that God wants us to be people of character – people who can be trusted, even when nobody is watching. My prayer is that others may come to know the saving grace of Jesus through observing us in action and how we live our lives – living honest lives as the author of Hebrews implored us. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…