I grew up with gardens. We had a kitchen garden that was a stone's throw from the back steps and a larger garden through the woods, past the barn and meadow. The larger garden was mostly corn, field peas and rows of potatoes, green beans and butter beans. Daddy usually planted tomatoes,cucumbers,squash, beets, okra, cabbage, sweet potatoes, onions and peppers in the kitchen garden. Daddy went to his factory job from 7 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon. When he came home he ate supper and went out to do his second job. His second job kept us from starving. He grew the vast majority of what we ate. Mama preserved the bounty by canning, freezing, pickling and drying. Supper usually consisted of five to six vegetables and a small portion of meat. I had to be an adult to grasp the bounty of that table. Throughout the summer we ate corn picked fresh from the field. It was shucked, silked and dropped into boiling water, slathered with butter and sprinkled heavily with salt. Cooked cabbage, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers and onions marinated in vinegar and water, little new potatoes cooked on top of just picked green beans, fried okra and squash casserole were common items on our summer table. For me, those foods beat anything that I have tasted in any nicer restaurant.
What do you want from your life? What kind of crop are you hoping to produce? In all honesty, your life and mine are zooming past at an unheralded rate. We may end up with a great job, or an exciting life. But what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul? We are more than just the things we own and the places we go on vacation. We have an eternal soul. Its' value is so costly that Jesus, God's Son came to earth to be one of us. He paid the redemption price for our souls with His own blood.
The garden plots have all been overtaken by brambles and trees and the land sits fallow. But the gardening seeds still grow in my heart. I can't get away from the idea that it is good and right to grow at least a portion of the food that I eat. When I drive through a subdivision, I think what a waste it is to put in all of the ornamental blooming trees that don't bear fruit. I love my flowers, but the land was given to us to yield a harvest.
This year I have tomatoes, eggplant, yellow squash, pumpkin, spaghetti squash, patty pan squash, tomatillos, okra, green beans, speckled butter beans, and beets. I hope to add more in a second garden.
It is a wonderful system. The rain comes from the clouds, the sun shines energy into the plants, the soil is renewed through microbes and worms. We cultivate, plant and water as well if there isn't sufficient rain. There has to be a constant tending of the garden plot where the gardner looks at the health of the plant, guards against marauding pests or overrunning weeds.
There are so many gardening analogies. Amazing how God has built wisdom right into Creation. But sometimes we have to be still and quiet inside to understand the message. Our lives are a lot like a garden. Sometimes we have to "break up the fallow ground..." when our hearts have grown dull to spiritual truth. We let weeds of pride and being self-centered choke out any love and compassion. Marauding hordes take us down while we are being amused to spiritual death. as we fill our minds with vain and worthless trash. Sometimes we are just lazy and don't watch our "hearts with diligence" and before you know it we have rotten fruit in our lives.
Even Jesus talked about the importance of good soil and how the good soil would produce a good crop.
Give care to your life. Take time to ponder who you really are and why you do the things you do. Where are you really headed? What is really truth? The gardening season quickly passes and every single day a good gardener is attending to something in the garden. How much more we should be attending to the garden that is our lives.