Genesis 8:22 (NIV)
“As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.”
I have truly enjoyed my job as the scarecrow to watch over this garden and learn many lessons throughout the experience. May we all take the job that God has given us seriously and strive to do our very best.
As we look at our gardening experience let’s look as some important lessons we learned through the season.
1. Preparation- We often assume we know what we what are doing, so we didn't study up on gardening or ask anyone for guidance; we just do it. Christians-especially new converts- need to read and study the Word of God. Sometimes, as new Christians, we might also need someone to walk alongside us to disciple us. Don't assume you know what's expected of you. Become familiar with the God's Word and what it means to have a relationship with God.
2. Take 'baby steps'--Instead of planting such a large variety of vegetables the first time around, we should have started out small; with one or two vegetables and increase the garden over a period of time. As Christians, we sometimes bite off too much, expect too much of ourselves and others, or get burned out in ministry. In frustration we end up disillusioned and walk away from everything because it's too much.
3. Don't just plant seeds, nurture them-After all the hard work of digging up the ground and planting the seeds, we failed to do our due diligence by weeding, watering and nurturing the plants. We relied on the rain and, periodically, I would water the plants, but I didn't spend the time or take the care that is required when gardening. As Christians we are called to discipleship. In doing so, we sometimes need to do more than ‘plant seeds'; we need to nurture and spend time with those whose lives we plant into-in prayer, Bible study or just listening to them.
4. Don't expect to see the fruits (or vegetables) of your labor overnight. For the longest period of time, we didn't see the fruits of our labor, and after a while, I lost interest and became less committed to tending to the plants. As Christians, don't we sometimes become disillusioned or disenchanted in our walk? Some of us think that when we give our lives to Christ, the old man disappears. He does not. We have to stay prayed up and studied up, recognize our imperfections, forgive ourselves for our missteps and ask God to do the same.
5. Realize that the enemy will find a way to get to you-Even though we put up stakes and a wired fence, the enemy (critters) dug underneath the fence to get to our vegetables and devour them. The enemy will do the same thing in your life. No matter how hard we try to live a good life, we are all imperfect and whenever the enemy sees an opening he will come in and steal our joy, if we allow it.
We must work in God’s garden, in His vineyard while we have the opportunity. It is never too late to begin! The devil will lie to you, and tell you it is too late, and that your life has been wasted. But there is a plentiful harvest, and fertile soil out in the world. Men, women and children are hungry for the reality that comes from knowing God, and fellowshipping with His son Jesus.
Dear Lord, we thank You for the many things that You do for us. We thank You for the lessons we can learn from all the aspects of gardening. We pray that we would remember the lessons we learned and apply them to our life so others will see You in us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.