It’s spring. Right? The weather does seem to want to continue to mess with us – it’s still pretty cold some days, it is New England after all, but official spring has sprung. And with it gardening season is upon us.
I have an ever-expanding plot in my back yard that I attempt to bend to my will. My garden. In several months, it may or may not yield zucchini, tomatoes, peppers and a few other goodies for me and my family. Or maybe not – I do not have a green thumb, but I try!
As I considered where to seek wisdom on how to be a better gardener this year than last I did not think to look to the Bible. After all it could not offer much by way of practical tips like which types of seeds to use or how to spread out my rows or fertilize my plants. But as it turns out it does in fact have a lot to say about planting, gardens, fields and how we are to tend them.
What I found interesting is that many of the earliest references to harvest (that thing I so hope to have some months from now) seem to fall into a pattern relating to 3 things:
Rest (relationship with self)
Exodus 34:21 – Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.
Community (relationship with people)
Leviticus 19:9 – When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest.
Sacrifice (our relationship with God)
Exodus 23:16 – Celebrate the Festival of Harvest with the firstfruits of the crops you sow in your field. “Celebrate the Festival of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field.
As I plant in the hope of a harvest I consider what God intended the harvest for. He intended that I would have food enough so that I would not have to be in constant motion. He did not want me to work myself, in whatever work I now engage in, at such a pace that I am never still. I will let my garden remind me of that – REST. He intended that my enough would be enough and that my plenty would supply the needs of others. He never meant for me to build up stores for my own wants while others literally starve to death for want of basic necessities. I will let my garden remind me of this – SHARE. He intended that I be in communion with Him and that what I offer to him is not my leftovers but my first fruits. Not my distracted hallelujahs as I watch the clock during a church service, not my tired Amens as I drift off to sleep in the middle of a prayer but the best of me so I can truly get to know and understand the character of the God I serve and I can be vulnerable and open to Him in turn. I will let my garden remind me of this – MY BEST FOR GOD.
So happy gardening to anyone attempting this magical art and may we all let the new life springing up all around remind us of God’s intentions for His people – a balanced life lived in community with others and Him.