gardening time at senior living communityI just love gardening!

It’s not that I’m particularly good at it; I just love being outside working the soil, raising the beds, configuring which seeds will be planted where...and then watching things grow.  

Every evening I head out to the garden after work, and on the weekends I usually head out a couple of times each day and just look at the garden – to which my wife queries, “does it look any different from the last time?”  

I’m not sure she gets it; “it doesn’t really matter,” I tell her, “I just like looking at the garden!”

I mostly do my garden for the grandkids. Seeing them break open fresh peas from the pod, grabbing a couple of raspberries and blueberries as a garnish to their tapioca pudding, or beating the birds to the strawberries, is just too much fun to watch!

But of course grilling some fresh asparagus isn’t too bad either, especially as a topping to a Chicken Abruzzi sandwich.
 
As a pastor, I’ve found that there are a lot of “redemptive analogies” within gardening; to root out “weeds” from our lives, to fertilize the “soil of our hearts,” are among some of them.

But one in particular is found in St. Paul’s letter written to those living in Galatia.  He wrote, “Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, the same also shall he reap.”

But have you ever noticed, a person doesn’t reap in the same season in which he sows!

This is undoubtedly true in gardening, but it is also true in our own personal lives as well. Sometimes we will caution a person doing something hurtful to which they reply, “it hasn’t hurt me yet!” And unfortunately, “yet” is the optimum word.

We see obvious examples of this when people make poor dietary choices and then reap harmful physical effects.

We see it when people neglect cultivating character traits and are then amazed at the type of person they’ve become. We see it in people who choose destructive relationships, only to reap a whirlwind of pain and disappointment.

There is something known as a person’s “moral momentum”.....things – good and bad - build like a snowball rolling down a hillside causing a person to either grow in strength and character, or like weeds growing unchecked in a garden strangling the life out of anything good.

All this reminds us that the choices we make are not incidental – they are significant in every way.  Someone once told a group of young people, “When you are young and least experienced, you are called upon to make the most significant decisions of your life.”

The reason for this advice was to teach young people in part that they don’t reap in the same season they sow. So choose to sow wisely.

Jesus said:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.
No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.
Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”

Jesus also said that he who receives him “produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

It makes sense to sow wisely in our gardens and to wait patiently for the harvest. Likewise, it makes equal sense to believe in and follow after the Lord Jesus so that His Spirit will produce the fruits of “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” in our lives.  

Now that’s a harvest worth reaping!

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