The Kingdom in My Garden
©2006, lani wiens
a fresh flowers original
I should have a green thumb if it could be passed on genetically – but I don’t. In my own defence I have actually kept several house plants alive – one even has about a 5 year span in my house, it’s even moved once. No, I have never claimed to be an excellent gardener but those living green things certainly teach me a lot of lessons. Here’s what I’ve learned this summer…
The zeal of the immature does not necessarily produce a good crop. There was a very obvious demarcation line in my garden between where I seeded and where I let my kids seed. Too much of a good thing doesn’t allow the seed to grow. Too little seed doesn’t provide sufficient companionship to the struggling loner – they tend to get ripped out along with the weeds or trampled. Of course no seed produces no crop at all. The spiritual application is pretty obvious. The kingdom needs us to be wise, mature and discerning in how, when and where we seed the gospel into the soil of people’s lives.
You can’t judge a potato by its skin. We have garden soil that is overly rich in nitrogen (that Soil Science degree does come in handy sometimes). This produces very scabby potatoes. They aren’t pretty to look at, their skin is rough rather than smooth. That roughness makes them difficult to peel but once you get passed that you have a potato like any other potato. It cooks, smells and tastes like every other potato. I must confess that I was prejudiced against my scabby potatoes. When someone suggested it wasn’t worth the trouble to dig them up I did just that. A little later someone suggested I really ought to make the effort, after all they are the same on the inside. I realized that this advisor was the wiser and decided I better get them in. Still I procrastinated. My dad warned me that I had only three days to get them in or I would lose them to the frost. I lost them friends. I lost my potato harvest because of laziness and prejudice. I didn’t make it a priority and I have no idea what kind of harvest I may have had because of my own neglect. Sad isn’t it? We do this every day. We say that the color of a person’s skin determines their worth and we don’t bother to go after the good stuff inside. We wait. We procrastinate. We’re lazy. The kingdom loses a harvest because of our neglect. Rather sobering isn’t it?
We are all in need of support. I couldn’t get at my tomato cages when we transplanted so they never got caged. Those plants grew to great proportions and their fruit and branches sagged to the ground. They needed a little propping up, a little support under the laden branches, some encouragement to lift their heads. We lost a few tomatoes to ground rot because of that. Thanks to my mom’s observations she was able to prop up a few with boards, but it was a good lesson.
Lack of wisdom combined with laziness will rob you of provision. We gathered in a great many tomatoes, they were great producers (thanks to my parents who grew them from seed). We grew a little tired of picking, washing, coring and freezing tomatoes. There was a lull when the cool weather struck and so we had a break from picking since they weren’t ripening as quickly. Then the frost warnings came out. We knew we should really get the rest of the crop in or we’d lose it. We sent the boys out to pick. They were not the owners and do not like tomatoes, they had no love for the crop and did a haphazard job, not fully bringing what they picked into the house but leaving them outside. The frost hit that night and all was lost. We lacked wisdom in sending out immature harvesters. We lacked wisdom in not supervising what they had done to make sure they finished the job. We did not put a high enough value on the crop (once again) to do it properly and again, lost some of the provision that could have been ours. Those poor tomatoes, left to the elements became food for birds and weaponry for young boys who like to throw things at each other. They were utterly destroyed.
My garden misadventures stand in sharp contrast to the way in which the harvesting at the farm took place. Following his dad’s lead my husband worked from sun-up till well past sundown taking the crop off the field. They persevered through daily breakdowns because they knew that this crop was their bread and butter for the rest of the year. They did not slow or take breaks until it was done; everything in the bins or on the ground in rings and under tarps. I can’t imagine what disarray the farm would be in if my father-in-law treated his farm like I treated my garden this summer.
I didn’t do it all wrong, I got a very nice crop of beans, peas and corn. I canned many jars of applesauce, plums, apricots, cherries and peaches. While there is more that could have been mine, I have learned some valuable lessons. The old saying, “make hay while the sun shines’ can be applied here, or perhaps translated, ‘take in the harvest in its season’. Harvesting is tiring, back-breaking work, but it is only a short season. There are many souls that have not yet been harvested for the kingdom of God, let’s not lose them to do immaturity, lack of wisdom, laziness or prejudice, they are our inheritance and we don’t want to lose that!