This past Spring our family tested our green thumb to see if we could grow a garden. We kept it simple. Our crop yield was not enormous. To be specific, during one of our summer dinners we split an okra we had grown.
Yes, you read that right! One. Single. Okra.
It was a learning experience for sure. Not to be defeated, we decided to double down and go bigger with our Fall garden. So, this past week, we planted some corn, cucumbers, kale, beans, and in a few days, we’ll add some carrots to the mix.
If all works out, we should have some great salads in a few months!
The garden is not just an excuse to play in the dirt. It’s a classroom where God teaches us some valuable life lessons. Jesus often referenced agriculture as He taught the disciples. He taught about sowing, reaping, different types of soil, seeds, producing fruit, vines, branches, sheep, and goats.
Jesus was a carpenter, but he had a knack for farming. Here are a few lessons we’re learning from our time in the dirt.
Wait. Wait. Wait.
“Let us not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9
When you plant seeds, you’re explicitly told on the back of the packet how many days it will take for the seed to sprout. For example, one seed we planted had an estimated germination period of 10 days.
Not gonna lie.
The day after we planted I peaked outside to see if any seeds had sprouted. (No judgement zone, please!) Who knows? Perhaps there was a miracle seed that grew 10x faster than the rest.
The truth is, I’m impatient. I’m ready to see the results of our labor. Waiting is hard! Can you relate?
You may be looking at your life and not seeing the results you had hoped. Maybe you thought at this stage in the game you’d be further along. You may even be tempted to think that God is through with you.
Don’t believe the lie. Follow the instructions in the verse above that Paul wrote to early believers. Don’t grow tired. Don’t give up. Trust in God’s timing.
My Part vs. God’s Part
“I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me.” John 15:5
In order to produce a crop, there’s a part we play and a part God plays. I can’t do God’s part, and I shouldn’t expect God to do my part.
What’s my part? Get the soil ready. Plant the seeds. Water the soil. Tend and prune the vine as it grows.
What’s God’s part? Grow and produce the fruit.
As hard as I try, I cannot make a seed grow into a tree. While I sleep, God is allowing the seed to die, sprout, and grow into a fruit producing plant. There are things only God can do, and there are things only I can do.
Believe it or not, it’s not your job to produce spiritual fruit. That’s God’s job. It’s your job to remain in Him (Jesus). If you remain in Him, the promise is that you will produce much fruit. Galatians 5 lists the fruit of the Spirit. Instead of wasting your energy trying to produce those in your life, spend your time remaining connected to Christ. Then, you will produce much fruit.
Remember the words of Jesus, “You can do nothing without me.”
What seed is that?
“You’ll recognize them by their fruit.” Matthew 7:16
At the end of each row we place a marker to identify what seed was planted. First, it’s too easy to forget. Secondly, when the seeds begin to sprout, it’s hard to tell what is what.
We can’t recognize a plant by it’s seed. We can’t recognize a plant by it’s leaf. We recognize a plant by the fruit that is produced.
How do people recognize you as a follower of Jesus? It’s not the clothes you wear, the car you drive, or the music you listen to. It’s not even how you spend your Sunday mornings that makes the difference.
You are recognized by your fruit.
Are you producing genuine fruit that identifies you as a follower of Christ? Or are you trying to manufacture your own fruit by good works and clean living? There is a difference between real fruit and fake fruit.