Y’all, I learn so much about life and living as a Christian from my little salsa garden.
I haven’t been a long-time gardener; I only started gardening a few years ago. I like to learn new things. Every year since we started this little project, we’ve done something a little different.
We’ve planted different varieties of tomatoes and peppers. One year we planted green beans. I learned you need to have a lot more space for them than I had. But that one meal that we got from that harvest was delicious! I love green beans. My family can attest to that; I make them about once a week. The family joke is, I have to tell everyone (or their wife) how to make them once they leave the house. I make them like my grandmother taught me.
One year we grew some potatoes from some seed potatoes that someone gave us. This year we planted garlic in the late Fall. I just dug those up.
What I am struck by every single year is the generosity of God! From one single little seed grows a marigold which contains hundreds of seeds in just one bloom.
I can harvest enough tomatoes for my family from one small tomato plant, plus have some to give away.
From one small pepper plant, my husband can have peppers all year long.
In Math, when my kids were younger, we always did a unit on apples. So for about a week, we ate a couple of apples a day and counted the seeds. We kept a graph of this. Some apples had as many as 7 or 8 seeds! I remember thinking & saying to my kids, from 1 small apple, there’s the potential of producing eight apple trees, which could produce 1000s of apples over time.
Y’all, God is generous!
So if I know this, and I can see this clearly in nature, why do I so often not believe it?
If I know that God is a generous fruit producer, why am I so impatient to see it in my own life and others? Why do I only define “fruit” as success when God’s word doesn’t define it that way at all? Why do I think my Father is more generous to a plant than to me?
A seed has to die before it can produce any fruit. From the 1st planting of the marigolds in our garden, we’ve never bought another marigold seed. We haven’t needed any more. The first harvest and all other harvests have produced more marigold seeds than we would ever use; I can pass down these seeds for generations. It’s amazing!
If my Father is that faithful to one little insignificant marigold plant, how much more will He be to me?
For a seed to produce fruit, it has to die. But buried there beneath the ground, nurtured in the fertile soil, faithfully watered by the gardener, it bursts forth with life. Pushing its way up toward the warmth of the sun. That insignificant little seed becomes beautiful, helpful, a sign of God’s faithfulness and generosity.
Like that seed, my purpose is to die. Die to myself. Die to my selfish ambition. Die to my self-reliance. Die to my ungodly anger. Die to my pride and conceit. DIE.
And die to thinking I know what fruit needs to come and when it needs to come. Die to thinking worldly success is fruit.
I finished reading a little book by Elizabeth Elliot this morning, These Strange Ashes, about her first year as a missionary. In talking about the lessons she learned, she penned these words:
“…I saw that to God nothing is finally lost. All the Scriptural metaphors about the death of the seed that falls into the ground, about losing one’s life, about becoming the least in the kingdom, about the world’s passing away-all these go on to produce something unspeakably better and more glorious. Loss and death are only the preludes to gain and life.”
God is faithful and generous! He will produce fruit in me, in His own time, and in His own way. I can trust the heavenly gardener, my Father.
But first, I must be willing to die.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:22-24)