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My Little Garden
By Garrett Lloyd
Have you ever noticed how many agrarian references there are in the Bible. The parable of the Sower, wheat and tares, the fig tree, the mustard seed and on and on. I am not enough of a biblical scholar to name them all but I know that sheer number of references in God’s Word to growing things tell’s me there may be some spiritual fruit to be gained from getting my hands dirty in my little back yard garden.
I grew up on a 5 acre lot of land of which my Dad dedicated about 1/4 to the garden. His father lived a quarter-mile away and devoted even more land to the vegetable garden as well a couple of fields of hay, soybeans, sometimes a couple of acres of tobacco, and periodically harvested timber from the 88 acres of land he owned.
My Moms Dad also worked as a farm manager in his youth and retired to a little place where he grew all manner of vegetables (some fairly exotic ) as well as keeping bees. Both grandmothers and my mom extensively canned, froze and otherwise preserved what was harvested so there was always home-grown food in the house.
While I was growing up I was often assigned chores in the garden, I was not overly fond of these chores when I was young and usually did the bare minimum to get by and hurried back to the TV as soon as possible. As an adult I deeply regret not taking more interest in gardening and taking full advantage of all that wisdom and experience that was available to me.
Fast forward thirty some odd years, the gardening gene in me finally matured and I began learning the art of putting non store-bought food on the family table. In the process I have learned that all the hard work is far surpassed by the joy of watching God turn that labor and a few seeds into delicious food I can proudly place on my family’s dinner table.
I was greatly surprised when my experiences in the garden, success as well as failures often mirrored what I was reading in the Bible. I discovered that sometimes you just can’t pull a stubborn weed without disturbing the plant your trying to grow like in the parable of the wheat and the tares. I discovered that tilling the soil to the correct depth greatly improves the quality of your crops. And also just simply the joy of watching God work in a tangible and practical way. Feeding his sheep.
My garden also raised questions I had never considered before. The Word says of discipleship that some will sow the seed or plant the word in a non believer, some will water the seed or encourage someone who is seeking. But the Word never makes mention of having to spread fertilizer. I know plenty of people in various churches who seem quite adept at spreading manure but I guess that is for another post.
Anyway, I feel there is great value in getting in touch with the land and starting your own garden. Things like better freshness and taste than you can find in the store, knowing what if any pesticides or genetically modified nonsense you’re ingesting, or simply experiencing the joy of growing a portion of your own food. I doesn’t matter if it’s a small window box herb garden, or fields of crops you can sell or give to neighbors.
Aside from the practical and pleasurable aspects of gardening, I encourage you to view a garden as a means of seeing God at work in a way our modern society has forgotten. God himself planted the first garden and even though we messed up that deal, He has given us glimpses of what awaits us in heaven as believers in Christ. Someday I’ll live in that beautiful garden He intended for us. In the meantime my strawberries should be ripe next week, now that I’ve discovered the plastic snakes and pinwheels trick for keeping birds and squirrels away.
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The kiss of the sun for pardon
The song of the birds for mirth
One is nearer Gods heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on Earth
B y Dorothy Gurney
1858 – 1932