Lessons From the Garden ~ Our Offerings Magnified

We've had a rough summer gardening-wise. We live in the south, where we have two major gardening seasons - the spring garden and the fall garden. These two gardening seasons are broken up by blistering heat on one side and an occasional freeze on the other.

This spring I had a fairly decent garden, until my life became consumed with making an endless parade of costumes and props for our daughter's play. In April and May, neglect was my main gardening strategy.

In June we went on a three week vacation. By the time we returned, with the assistance of our timed irrigation and several unusually heavy rainfalls, the garden had dramatically transformed into the Amazon jungle. A fruitless jungle.

All the plants that had been producing had died except for the tomatoes. There were lots and lots of overripe, and even dried, tomatoes on the plants. The tomatoes that appeared edible were bland and unappetizing.

Needless to say, I was discouraged.

I was afraid to let my kids in the garden for fear of snakes. The waist-high grass was full of hard burrs with evil double hooks. And did I mention the blistering heat?

My gardening strategy morphed from neglect to utter denial. Garden? What garden?

One morning in July, I went outside early while it was still possible to actually breathe, and peeking nervously over the gate, saw that the dying tomato plants had sprouted a few new green leaves. Curious, I went into the garden, and to my amazement saw green leaves poking out of browning tomato stems everywhere. This unexpected surge of life inspired me, and I spent several hours weeding and pruning 4 or 5 of the plants closest to the gate.

The next day when I went out to continue down the row, my carefully pruned plants were covered with grasshoppers. It seems that the weeds had been camouflage, and without those swaying grass fronds, the bright green leaves shouted "Eat me! Eat me!" in irresistible Grasshopperese.

That was it, I was done. I didn't even feel guilty about not working in the garden. Most days.

But the time for planting the fall garden is upon us and today it was time to be a grown-up. I wanted to begin taking dominion over that garden again! I decided I would spend two hours in the garden with no expectations of what I would actually accomplish. Because I had turned off the irrigation system weeks ago, I had definite expectations of what I would find in the Garden of Death - a lot of stuff to rip out.

I grabbed the weed whacker, put on my protective gear, and wrenched the gate free from the morning glories that bound it to the fence. Advancing slowly, the weed whacker leveled the waist high grass in the paths along the tomato bed. I was too busy trying to hold the weed whacker steady with my out-of-practice arms, and my eyes were too blurry from the constant drip-drip-drip of sweat to actually look at the beds.

I put the weed whacker away, gulped some ice water in the kitchen, and then, bravely (oh I felt terribly brave), I did what I least wanted to do... I went back to the garden to honor my time commitment.

And there, at the beginning of that tomato bed, I saw a miracle. Somehow, God had preserved those grasshopper-covered plants that I had pruned. Beyond them were dry dead sticks, but those first few plants that I had tended were not only alive and leafy, they had flowers and sweet little green tomatoes.

I stood there with my mouth open, then burst out laughing. My tiny effort, given with hope, had been received and magnified. Those itty bitty balls of green didn't care that my hopes had been dashed, that I had mourned the tragic loss of my garden. They were busy fulfilling their calling... growing.

My offering was so small, yet with God's provision of sun and rain, that offering turned into tomatoes. Imagine!

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord." 1 Cor 15:58

What encouragement it gives me to know that while I have so little to offer, and so frequently get discouraged, God has the eternal perspective! He takes every offering of ourselves and magnifies it to His glory.

1 comment:

  1. SO encouraging! Thank you. I offer my pitiful little mite to Him today! May the weedy garden in my heart produce something good for His glory.


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