Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Fruit? No Fruit? No Control

Last year the fruit trees my neighbor and I have in our yards produced a very large crop. We used all we could, froze a lot and still watched a lot fall to the ground. This year, all the blossoms got frozen in our Mother's Day snowstorm, and we won't get any fruit at all. That points out a couple of truths of gardening and life in general: You can't guarantee a crop, no matter how hard you try. All you can do
is show up, do your part, and wait on nature -- or God, if you want to get more direct about it. So how do we get by and how can we be patient, while we wait?

Jesus used the word-picture of sowing seed and waiting, several times in his ministry (see Matthew 13, for instance). The pictures used there show that some seed grows and other seed doesn't, for various reasons. The sower -- Jesus himself, not us in our own efforts -- puts out the seed, and even with Jesus doing it, there isn't guaranteed success. But the job is to sow the seed, regardless.

In Mark 4:26-29, the Lord tells us that we aren't in charge of the process of growth and fruit-bearing: "Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head." Having been a gardener more or less my whole life, I can tell you I don't know how it works although I know some things I can do to help the process along -- and it's still not guaranteed!

So our part is to be faithful in our own version of planting and watering (see 1 Cor 3:6 where Paul says the same), and let God "make it grow." And I think we can trust him to do that. He's been making things grow a long, long time, since Adam and Eve, whom he told to manage the garden -- to "tend and watch over it" in Gen. 2:15. Whether we can see fruit or not, let's keep showing up every day, doing whatever he tells us to do that day, and wait on the Lord for the harvest.

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