Giant Pumpkin Care and Journey Deliver Life Lessons

©Joy Dunlap

I thought 787 pounds was huge. As it turns out, the world record-holder as of October 2021 weighs 2,702.8 pounds.

Grown by Stefano Cutrupi in the Italian region of Tuscany, that award-winning gourd (and squash) secured that title this month at a competition in Germany.

But, the one that caught my attention at the North Carolina State Fair this year weighed almost 800 pounds and had a lovely shape like a giant orange flower (seen in this photo).  That impressive North Carolina-grown pumpkin made me curious, so I did some research on giant pumpkins.

In the middle of the 2020 pandemic, Midwest farmer Travis Gienger got some great news when his “Tiger King” pumpkin took home the top prize from the 47th Annual Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off.  His 2,350 pounder in the weigh-off brought him a major payoff!  $16,450!

As if that wasn’t amazing enough, the backstory is that the winning grower drove that prize pumpkin from Minnesota to California to enter it in the contest.

In a You-Tube video prior to the competition, Gienger mentioned “white-knuckling every bump” on the trek.  Most of us have had some bumps during our life journeys that made for rough riding, right?

Thankfully though they nestled that prized pumpkin in its soil while traveling.

The soil kept it stable, able to absorb the bumps better, and in a natural environment. The grower wanted to prevent it from cracking or breaking open during the bumps.  For its protection, they also covered it with blankets and tarps.

To keep it viable and in its best state, they even poured water on the giant pumpkin during stops on the 35-hour journey. 

It arrived intact and won the top prize.

Sure, that pumpkin wasn’t perfect.  It had some marring, dents and discolorations.  And, think about all those bumps along the way.

But the grower nurtured it, protected it, and delivered it to victory.

As I listened to the interview where Gienger spoke about keeping his prized pumpkin in soil for protection, I couldn’t help but think about the parable Jesus shared about seed and soil.

Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 

Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.

Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.

Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”  Mark 4:13-20 NIV

Here’s how the seed in good soil is described in the book of Luke.

But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.  Luke 8: 15 NIV

In order to keep a pumpkin growing, the farmer carefully prunes, fertilizes and monitors its progress, and that care continues until it arrives at the judging and award site.

And, that pumpkin that made the trek while held stable in the soil?   Perhaps it’s not surprising that when other growers saw that impressive pumpkin beauty – even before it secured the victory – they wanted samples of the soil it was transported in.  

Does the essence of our lives make others want to know what we’re growing in? 

Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.  2 Corinthians 9:13 NIV

  • What fruit, vegetable or flower have you grown that you particularly remember?  What made it special?
  • How nestled are you in the soul-nurturing, life-enhancing “soil” of God’s Word?
  • In what ways are you growing in your relationship with the Lord?
  • As you travel towards victory and eternal life, what is helping you absorb the bumps on the journey and keep the light shining bright to others?

Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. 2 Peter 3:17-18 NIV


Life is Better When It’s Full – Joy-full, Thank-full, Purpose-full and Friend-full! ™

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