How to “Garden”
By John McCoury
Roan Mountain, Tennessee
It’s All About Nurturing
It’s garden time again. If you have ever attempted to grow a garden from seeds, then you have probably learned a few lessons as my first attempted garden from seeds. The spiritual parallels that God has interwoven into creation are truly phenomenal, and I learned a lot through that little garden. The first lesson I learned is that a garden that produces fruit mid-summer is the result of a daily process that begins during the frost of winter. When spending a week or two watering pots of dirt indoors that have no sign of life above ground, you begin to have a tiny “crisis of faith,” wondering if your daily efforts are completely in vain.
Then the first signs of green life nudge their way through the soil, and a twinkle of hope is born. But the garden is still a long way from bearing fruit at that point. Attention to the fragile seedlings must be deliberate and consistent each day after those first signs of life appear to nurture the sprouts into plants that will be ready to brave the outdoors after the last frost.
What a picture of our spiritual needs! The watering of our souls through God’s Word and the exposure to the Son daily are key ingredients to growing roots fit for our thriving in this world.
I spent weeks watering those tiny plants after finally getting them outdoors. I began this phase hopeful, but as the changes in the garden took place at a less-than-visible pace, I felt myself growing less enthusiastic about the process.
Life is Similiar
Such is life, right? One morning a string of tough moments occurred as a wife and mom doubted whether any of my efforts would one day bear fruit. It was then that the Holy Spirit intervened in my thoughts through Galatians 6:9: “Let us not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up.“ During the times when we are not visually able to see the fruit of our labor, let us be encouraged that our job is to keep showing up, knowing the results are in God’s hands.
Father, You have promised that if I will sow seeds of goodness through the power of Your Spirit at work within me, I will reap a harvest of blessing in due time. Help me to hold on to that promise in the waiting. Harvesting! Cor. (5–9). Everybody has a place in the Lord’s harvest, and all are doing His work (John 4:34–38). There must be no competing or comparing, for the Lord alone recognizes the work and gives the reward. It makes no difference who the servant is so long as Jesus Christ is Lord of the harvest. When you give to others whose ministry blesses you, you are sowing seed that will bear fruit. When you use your resources for sinful purposes, you sow to the flesh and will reap a sad harvest.
The Conclusion is…
In conclusion Isaiah 55:10-13 “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”
Here are some suggestions for fifteen rows worth planting: Four rows of peas: Preparedness Perseverance Promptness Politeness, then three rows of squash: Squash gossip, Squash criticism, Squash selfishness: along with five rows of lettuce: Let us be unselfish, Let us be loyal, Let us love one another, Let us be truthful, Let us be faithful in duty. And three rows of turnips: Turn up with a smile, Turn up with a new idea, and Turn up with determination. And then? Water, weed, tend with care, and patiently watch the garden grow.
John McCoury is pastor of Evergreen Freewill Baptist Church in Roan Mountain, Tennessee and the chaplain at Roan Highlands Nursing Center