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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Shrewdness (03/07/05)

TITLE: Lesson in Gardening
By Joyce Poet


A young man spent his teenage years gardening for other people. When he became of age, he decided that he’d become knowledgeable enough to garden for himself and shrewd enough to become a decent businessman. So he saved the money he earned and bought a field.

For the amount of money he’d saved, the only field he could afford needed clearing. Therefore, he spent the first summer removing brush. By fall, the field was ready to plow. He intended to plow once in the fall and again after a hard freeze so that the tough soil would be well prepared for planting come spring.

To his misfortune, he had not counted the cost of oxen. Therefore, by the end of winter, he’d only managed to plow the field once by hand. Being the man of God that he was, he chose to simply be thankful for his youth and stamina and spent the spring hauling off large rocks he’d turned up while plowing. Of course, it was too late to plant by the time he’d finished preparing the soil.

He continued to work in other men’s gardens and saved every penny he earned. The second summer passed and he had purchased oxen to begin another fall plowing. After the second plowing and the end of winter, the soil appeared to be perfect. He looked proudly at his field and said “surely the favor of God rests on me.”

In early spring, the man planted seeds and kept them well watered. But when the third summer arrived, his plants were weak and bore very sparse, sickly food. He remembered hearing somewhere that first year gardens seldom produce and that it takes at least two or three years to get a decent crop. So he repeated the process of the prior two years. But his garden fared no better the fourth summer. Still, he continued to weed, to plow, to form rows, and to sow seeds.

The fifth summer came and the man, now older and with a much darker complexion, looked out at a field full of young plants. “Soon, I will have more than enough food for myself. I will give some to the poor, as the Lord has been most generous. And I will sell what is left to make a handsome profit.”

One night, as the man slept, a severe lightening storm destroyed his garden. He woke to find broken plants scattered across his field. Not one plant remained standing. The man was devastated.

Heartbroken, he continued to work in other men’s gardens and decided that he would be wiser to just build a house on his field. He saved his earnings to purchase lumber. He never visited his field and came to accept that becoming a master gardener was nothing more than a pipedream.

The following fall, he gathered other men’s harvests. In winter, he worked other men’s soil. In spring, he planted other men’s seeds. And in the sixth summer, he weeded their gardens. By the next harvest season, he had purchased enough lumber to begin building and carried it out to his field.

He couldn’t believe his eyes! His field was dense with plants bearing much fruit. Never had he seen a garden so healthy. “How did this happen?” he wondered.

Deep beneath the soil, where the man couldn’t see, his fifth summer plants had taken root. The lightening and strong winds had destroyed all that he could see above ground. But the roots were strong and survived. The plants had actually been supernaturally pruned and the soil supernaturally fertilized with rotted plant remains, perfecting the soil for the sixth year growth.

(All scriptures -- KJV)

Proverbs 27:1 Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things NOT SEEN.

II Corinthians 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Isaiah 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

III John 1:2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

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This article has been read 1368 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Aziel Karthak03/15/05
It is a most wonderfully constructed story. You have control over words. Keep it up. Great job. Great theme.
Mitzi Busby03/15/05
Very good lesson for all of us here. Lots of hidden meanings there. I like it!
Delores Baber03/18/05
Great example of how all things work together for good. . . even the storms. A lot of wisdom in this story.
donna robinson03/20/05
What a fascinating little gem this was! I thought I was done for the night but the title got to me so I clicked on the read. Loving to garden myself i could see and feel his frustration and admired his ability to keep going despite the odds. Even when he revamped his dream, he wasn't bitter. It seems it was this spirit that got rewarded at the end. So many subtle morals everywhere that you could jump numerous stories off this one. I enjoyed this very much, thank you.
Sally Hanan03/21/05
One of the funnier things about God is that He waits until we give up our own efforts before He comes through.