One of the family projects that we’ve been working on this summer is the garden. Naturally our children have joined in different aspects from helping in preparing the soil, weeding, and watering (which for the last few days has been a non-issue). While they may once in awhile mildly object to the tedious nature of gardening, they enjoy those moments when they first see the green of budding sprouts emerging from the soil. And we look forward to the experience of seeing those sprouts come to full maturity, finally reaching the point when their fruits are ripe for picking.
A couple of weeks ago, we were planting corn, with our expectations of their success in keeping with the age and ability of each of them. Under their mother’s supervision, they soon had three rows of evenly dispersed corn seeds along each furrow.
But as the fourth row was being planted, with my wife taking more direct involvement in it, our enthusiastic daughter took the stick for making places for the seeds, and very passionately and liberally dotted the furrow with extra holes, dropping extra kernels in most of them (more or less all behind her mother’s back who had temporarily become preoccupied with other aspects of the garden). When I came along and looked at how things were going, my wife laughed and said, “I have no idea where the seeds have actually been planted in her row.” Together we counted about four or five times as many seed holes as the other furrows possessed.
Our daughter, wearing soil on her clothes and in her hair as proudly as if it were a badge of honor, stood by the garden beaming proudly as if she had just sown the whole thing herself. Her mother and I looked helplessly at each other, shrugged our shoulders, and then congratulated her on her hard work. Only time will tell what harvest awaits our little farmer later this summer!
Our garden adventures (or misadventures as the case sometimes is) sometimes remind me of things that Jesus taught. The Lord often compared the workings of the Kingdom of God to the workings of a garden. In John 4:34-38 Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of Him Who sent Me and to finish His work. Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together! Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”
As I watch our little girl “running amuck” with the seed, I see someone who is sowing literal seed as we ought to sow the seed of the Word of God. Naturally, the preparing of the “soil” of hearts is chiefly done through the cultivation we invest in relationships that God affords us in our families, co-workers, neighbors, and every other “life-on-life” engagement we have with others. Love, courage, and integrity are powerful farming tools that break up even the hardest of hearts. And as we “till the soil”, we sow the words of God as we go, pointing out His holy attributes, His will for living life, and His promises for those who will trust Him with their hearts as they repent of sin and allow Him to be Lord of their lives.
Again, time only will tell what success our daughter will have in her labors in the garden, but I’ve no doubt that something indeed will emerge and reward her for that work. In the same way, inasmuch as we liberally and generously sow the seed of God’s Word, while we may not yet know which seeds will ultimately bring a harvest, we know that some of those sprouts will come to full maturity, finally reaching the point when their fruits are also ripe for picking.
When they do, those who have sown and those who have reaped will together rejoice just as God Himself rejoices in the harvest. It’s a hard, hard thing though… the waiting. I’m impatient at times with the apparently slow rate at which things grow in our little garden. How much more so are our children. But their mother patiently reminds them that things worth having are things worth waiting and working for. So we continue to wait and work among our little plants, weeding and watering, pruning and tending as needed.
The golden fruit of faith is far harder to wait on and work for than are the fruits of the garden. But it is worth so much more than the reddest and juiciest of tomatoes, the largest and coolest of cucumbers, and biggest and sweetest apples!
In the fields that surround your life, are you tending the soil of others’ lives through the relationships with which God has entrusted you? Do you grip the “garden tools” of love, integrity, and courage as you live life, trusting God to use you to spread the seed of His Word in the hearts of others around you? Consider how barren things would be if there were no seed sown. Think of the famine in the land for a lack of knowledge of God’s love if you and I were faithless in our Lord’s fields?
If things seem dark and hopeless to you and the times are troubling, take heart in knowing that God is yet Lord and is still at work. He continues to use circumstances to strip people of their confidence in things that cannot eternally save them and create an opportunity for the seed of His Word to be sown into their lives and perhaps result in a harvest of eternal life! His Spirit continues to soften hard hearts and heal wounded souls allowing His grace to come and make new and whole what was once broken and ruined.
Join other Believers in the world today who recognize that they have been sent into this day and age to be messengers of God’s hope! Like Jesus Himself, find your nourishment for daily living in the doing of His will for your life! Are you about your “heavenly Father’s business?” Is His agenda, YOUR agenda? If not, take a good long look at your priorities and prayerfully allow God to reshuffle them for you so that you do not squander your brief stay on earth on things that will not and cannot follow you into eternity.
Make your goal in life to “finish His work” (John 4:34) and just wait and see what God can and will do through you!
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