And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. (Luke 5:37 NASB)
When the grapes are ripened, they must be gathered in order for them to become wine. Left in the field, they will either rot or dry up. You might end up with raisins, but you won't get wine that way. Harvesting is essential and not optional.
There are all kinds of harvesting styles. Some people want to pick as many grapes as possible, as quickly as possible, and pile their gathering basket as high as possible. There is the benefit of gathering many grapes, but the risk of crushing the tender grapes under the weight of the pile. Remember, the grapes will be crushed, but the field is not the place for the crushing. It is essential to protect those young "fresh-picked" grapes so that they can become the rich wine that the vineyard owner planned.
Some harvest workers only want to pick certain grapes. I overheard a church member talking to a person in another denomination. "Are you still feeding those homeless people?" To the affirmative reply, she answered, "Good, because we don't want them at our church!" It broke my heart. I thought Jesus wanted homeless people there with us, too! In fact, I'm pretty sure He does!
What we need to understand as the body of Christ is that we are called to be laborers in the harvest. We are called to gather ALL the harvest, not just those who are most to our liking. As laborers, we are to respond with the love of Christ to every person He brings into our life and we are to protect and nurture them so that they can become the mature believer Christ intends.
Pray today that we can see our loved ones and their friends through the eyes of Christ. Pray that we will respond with the love of Christ in such a way that both our loved ones and those in their circle of influence will be drawn to Him.