In agricultural communities like ours, especially during planting or harvest season, it’s very easy to forget what day it is. It’s not that you forget what day it is, it’s because being behind the wheel of a tractor, combine, semi or truck just makes the days all run together. For some of you, this is your absolute favorite time of the year. The rush of watching the head eat up the stalks and deposit the grain in the hopper brings so much joy and satisfaction that the work you did all summer long has come to fruition. For others, you almost wish the “slower” pace of the summer months would come back. Then, if a weather report states that a snowstorm is on the horizon, everything moves into eleventh gear.
In this more “hurried” time, it’s easy to lose sight of priorities. Yes, getting the crops out before the snow comes is a priority but so is being fully present with your family, when you are at home and not in the field. Don’t glance over the moments in the house when your seven-year-old is sharing about the science experiment they did that day. Don’t breeze on by the conversation with your mother about how her flowers really bloomed four weeks ago. These “little” moments add up. Interaction with your family or your friends, even in the midst of your busyness during this time, have equal value to getting your crops out. In fact, likely even more so. They are how we can act as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther often would say, as “little Christs” to one another.
St. Paul reminds us of these words in Romans, “Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God” (Romans 15:7 New Revised Standard Version). To be sure, I am not pulling one verse out of its context here. Paul focuses much attention on what it means to live in Christian community in the Book of Romans. St. Paul speaks often about how Christians ought to live for others and build up those around them first, so that the Christian community may flourish in unity. So, this line near the end of Romans serves as a reminder to the people whom they are, to live with one another and welcome one another just as Christ did for them.
When we engage in these conversations in the midst of our busyness, we participate in the mission and ministry of God. Of what good will the fruits of our harvests be, if in our rush we leave behind the folks who love and support us the most? As the son of a North Central Iowa farmer, I know for fact that there is lots of windshield time during harvest. Take a moment this day to give someone a call you haven’t spoken to in a while. Chances are that your conversation with them will be just what was needed. In so doing, you will have welcomed another, just has Christ has welcomed you.