It’s that time again! Even though the temperatures here the Low-country do not seem to have gone down much, fall is coming!

My cousin Paul, farming the Berntson homestead located in the north end of the Red River Valley in North Dakota, recently reported the 17th consecutive day of harvesting. And frost warnings were issued just the other night.

It has not been an easy year for wheat farmers, with wide swings in the weather, shortage of labor and parts, and volatile market conditions. But now the results of these dedicated farmers are being realized.

Of course, the real work began many months ago, last fall. The soil that is producing the harvest now was prepared way back then.

Weeds were plowed under. Modern techniques were used to help the soil capture and hold moisture from the winter snows and spring rains.

Detailed planning went into the selection of the wheat seed, matching requirements with conditions so that sufficient nutrition would allow the seed to sprout, take root, and ripen to maturity.

The formation of our faith has many similarities to this process of growing grain.

Who doesn’t desire a faith that will sustain and uphold us when the storms of life come our way? We all want to enjoy the peace, the joy, and the assurance that comes from a rich and robust faith.

But too often we fail to acknowledge that we have a personal responsibility to work at enabling our faith to grow and develop. It is not easy, and it takes focus, intentionality, and follow through.

I’m especially reminded of this as I review the many, many opportunities for faith formation at the various churches and synagogues here in the Lowcountry. With so many varied opportunities available, each led by devoted and talented facilitators, it is my prayer that you will seriously review the offerings.

I then pray you will decide to participate in one that will serve to strengthen your faith.

Of course, there are many reasons and excuses for not doing so – a few of them maybe even reasonable and valid. But I’m aware that those North Dakota wheat farmers, like my cousin, also could have found good and valid reasons for ignoring their work of preparation.

Their bountiful harvest now is evidence that they did not ignore what needed to be done. Let the same be said of you and me.

Pete Berntson is the pastor of Church of the Palms United Methodist Church in Okatie.