This year my husband and I decided to grow our own vegetables just for fun, and maybe to cut some costs. We decided on Scallions, Tomatoes and Cucumbers. We decided to buy seeds and a "starter tray" and start the veggies inside while we prepared the soil outside. The tray was a mini green house that kept the moisture in and allowed the seeds to germinate.
All of the seeds started off very nicely. The plants all took root. They grew to a good transplant size and we prepared an area that had direct sun about 1/2 of the daylight hours. When the time came we planted them and soon we had healthy growing plants.
Unfortunately, I have never grown cucumbers before and soon all the beautiful cucumber plants, with their tiny little cukes started to wither away. I thought, "Not enough water"...so I watered more, and they died quicker. So I thought, "Too much water," and cut back ....and soon they were all dead. I discovered too late that they had what my mother called a "choke worm." These are tiny little worms that basically suck the nutrients out of the plants, and they die quickly.
The scallions started out strong, but just never got any size to them. After 3 months, we pulled up the biggest ones, and they were still very tiny. Crickets had eaten about 1/2 of them, and some had dried up and died. So basically, nothing was of any use to us.
The tomatoes seemed to be doing better. They got REAL tall. I am 5'5" tall and they were almost as tall as I am. Some little tomatoes started popping out. All seemed to be going well. Now these were the big BeefSteak tomatoes that are supposed to get as big as your palm (or bigger). Suddenly, these little tomatoes started to turn red way to soon....like at cherry tomato size. Then the plants slowly started to die. I was only able to pick 3 tiny tomatoes out of at least 2 dozen fruit that started to pop out. When all the fruit was either picked or rotted on the vine, we mowed them over. I just didn't understand what went wrong.
Today, as I sat on my back porch, I realize that my garden has been a lot like my spiritual life. I just didn't realize it. Let me explain.
After I was saved as a teenager, I fell to the pleasures of the world. Like those Cucumbers, I grew big, vibrant leaves and abundantly blossomed. I tried to spread the Word of God to my friends and even realized a few tiny fruit of my own. But after a while, worldly pursuits began to choke out the spirit of life inside me. Those worldly pursuits took all the rich nutrients of God's Word and re-directed it so that the fruit in my spirit started to whither and die from lack of sustenance.
Like the Scallions, the cares of the world started to take root. The evil of the world started to come and feed off of the things that would start to grow in me. The root was still good, but it was not growing because every time I sent up a stalk toward heaven, there was always some insect ready to devour it, keeping me from making headway.
The tomatoes are a different story. They were vibrant plants. They even produced - smaller than desired and limited - but they did produce. So what is the lesson with the Tomatoes?
You see - when I planted the seeds, they were in small soil capsules contained by netting that made it easy to transplant. The tomato plants grew tall, and did what they were supposed to do, but the netting prevented the roots from growing deeper into the ground. The roots got nutrients and water, but once they reached the limits of the original netting, instead of breaking through them (which is what the package said they would do) and going deeper into the soil surrounding them, they stayed within the netting. This limited the effectiveness of the plant.
My Christian walk has been like that too. I chose to put a "net" around what God could do in my life. Oh, He was an almighty and powerful God, but He was limited because of my sin or my lack of faith. Like those tomato plants, I did not break through the self-imposed net and delve deeper. As a result, I was growing, but the fruit was smaller than it should have been and limited in quantity.
Thanks to a study called Grace Walk, I have found that I don't have to live in that box. I need to break through or shed the "netting" that is holding me back and plunge ever deeper into the depths of God's Grace and Mercy. I am not, and will never be, perfect or sinless on this earth, but God does not look on my imperfections. He looks at me through the forgiveness I was given through Christ's sacrifice. He sees me as a Righteous and Holy Child that he wants to give an inheritance.
I did not get even one cucumber or scallion from my garden and I was only able to eat one small tomato. But that garden.....It was a gift from God!
Nancy is a 47-year-old mother of 5 (4 of her own and one step) grown children and 3 grandchildren. She was raised in a Christian family. Nancy works as a Software Documentation specialist from home and is a member of Pathways Community Church in Largo, FL.
Thanks for stopping by! Unfortunately, Nancy and I don't get to see each other much these days, but at least we both love Facebook! Thanks, Nancy, for your beautiful story and the reminder that God has lessons for us everywhere. Keep your eyes open!
Grace and peace be yours in abundance,