Orchardists look forward to an abundant apple harvest this year. They've gathered early varieties and watch later favourites to pick them when they're just right. To achieve the best results they have pruned the trees and done everything possible to protect the blossoms and fruit from anything that attacks or hinders their growth.
In this area apple harvest coincides with Thanksgiving celebrations and the gathering together of family. A dear lady who now sits at a splendid table spread by her heavenly Father, prepared delicious feasts for her family of seven. When they married and had children she could not accommodate them all at once so she invited two or three families on different days. No matter how many she expected, if one gave some reason for not attending she'd be on the phone insisting they come. Each one was so special and loved, she needed them all.
That mother's heart is not unlike the heart of Father God. He may delay the date of His Son's return to gather the family if one cannot make the feast. He desires every child to come home. Many could adjust their agendas and get on track with His. It makes no sense for people who are starving for love to choose to decline the invitation that would satisfy their need.
When the apples are at their best, the crop will be lost if the fruit isn't picked. Jesus said, "Look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest," speaking of individuals hungry for truth. (John 4:35 NIV) A day comes when it's time to accept the loving invitation and gather with the family around God's table - no excuses.