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Summertime Gardening

When I was a child, we moved into a house with a decent sized backyard.  Our neighbor next door had a pool, and even more fascinating, a garden!  He was growing corn, tomatoes, carrots, and more.  The next spring, my dad got the gardening itch, and we planted a garden, as well.  We cleared out the rocks and roots, tilled the dirt (it’s Florida, I think it would be wrong to call it soil!) and then began to plant the seeds.  We planted radishes, cantaloupe, lettuce, carrots and even had a few tomato plants along the back row near the fence.  It was fascinating to see how small and tiny all the various seeds were for our garden and hard to comprehend the process they would go through with an end result of plants and bushes yielding basketfuls of vegetables and fruit!

As you can probably guess, I was out in the yard every day with my overly curious mind wanting to see if anything had “sprouted.”  For days on end, it seemed as if my only part to play in this process was to water the dirt, but to my surprise and shock, it did not take long for something to appear. If I recall correctly, the first seeds to break through the surface were the red devil radishes. We were enjoying them in no time. Later on, we enjoyed some of the most delicious tomatoes, crunchy crisp carrots and cucumbers of unusual size.  The cantaloupe eventually took over the garden with it’s long entangling vines, but it was a plentiful harvest.

When it comes to evangelism, I often recall the words of Christ from John 4:35, “Open your eyes and look at the field! They are ripe for harvest.” This was making clear the readiness of the people to hear the good news of the Kingdom of God.  I am also reminded of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 3:6, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.” There is a clear picture of process in the growth of the Kingdom.
Sometimes we do the hard work of preparing the dirt, sometimes we get to plant the seed, sometimes all we do is water it and sometimes we get to bring in the harvest.  The beautiful thing about the entire process the essentialness of each step.  If no one prepares the dirt, then the seed never takes root.  If no one plants the seed, the nothing can possibly grow. If no one waters it, then growth does not happen. And if no one reaps the harvest, then the blessings cannot be fully attained.

All of us have a part to play – some prepare, some plant, some water and some harvest.  All of us are dependent on each other to do our part.  Some days we are preparing dirt, planting seed and watering different seeds (people) every day. Sometimes, we get to be a part of several steps with the same seed (person).  Either way, the Kingdom will benefit from the harvest.  Let’s do our best to make sure we are ready to do whatever it takes – prepare, plant, water or reap. The Kingdom is depending on it!