I enjoy gardening. By this time of year, I am busy getting the soil enriched with fertilizer, tilling it, sowing seeds, and setting out bedding plants. So far, I have squash, green beans, and radishes up and thriving, along with several cabbages, bell peppers and tomatoes. Several weeks ago, I set out an eggplant in a five-gallon bucket, which presently has the beginnings of emerging fruit. It amazes me how God engineered nature to create such voluminous plants that start from the tiniest of seeds!
This season the weather has been quite erratic, shifting from cool or cold weather to summer like temperatures early in the season, then back to frost ridden mornings in whiplash fashion. Early March it had been so mild I jumped ahead and planted green beans. We had a couple of weeks of 80+ degree temps and then came a frost and freeze. I covered the plants several times, but missed a forecast and did not cover them for the last frost we had. Consequently, the cold killed all those tender plants. I should have paid closer attention to the forecast.
When this happens there is nothing to do but replant and start over. I did, and now the green beans are up and seem to be thriving. Frustrating – yes! especially when it could have been avoided by either waiting to plant, or giving more care to the young, delicate sprouts. Gardening takes work, patience, and attention to environmental conditions. It can often be wearisome, but the fruit of the labor makes it worth the effort, or at least to me it does.
I think God engineered nature to teach us spiritual truths if we will only pay attention. Galatians 6:7-9 says: Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Do not give up! Had I not replanted my green beans this year, I certainly could not expect to harvest green beans. Sometimes it takes replanting to reap a harvest. Other times it requires more fertilizer or different plants that are better suited to your soil or climate. Figuring this out takes patience and perseverance.
As a church, if we are sowing seeds to please God and not ourselves, God will give the increase. It may take time and a lot of effort but being diligent and pressing on with fortitude will render a harvest if we persevere in love.
Together we press on! Plant a few seeds by inviting someone to church, sending an encouraging note to one who is hurting, speak words of affirmation to each other, look for the positive, seek ways to be a helper. If we all do our part, God will bring the harvest in His time!