The first gatherings of the garden in May of salads, radishes and herbs made me feel like a mother about her baby – how could anything so beautiful be mine. And this emotion of wonder filled me for each vegetable as it was gathered every year. There is nothing that is comparable to it, as satisfactory or as thrilling, as gathering the vegetables one has grown.
– Alice B. Toklas
Lessons From a Vegetable Garden
I admire people who have the proverbial ‘green thumb’ because I certainly don’t have one. But I love how God created gardens with such magnificent color and texture. My favorite gardens are the eatable ones “vegetable gardens”… corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, onions, green beans, mint, thyme, rosemary, carrots and so much more.
I have attempted to grow things over the years in pots, in the ground and in crates to no avail. Since I live in California we have the best weather for gardens, we even have several restaurants that grow their own veggies. I really don’t understand why it just doesn’t happen for me.
After researching some of the mistakes I made in planting. I have realized my mistakes offer up some lessons we sometimes make in our Christian walk.
Lesson #1-Preparation– When I first started to garden I thought I knew what I what was doing, so I didn’t study up on gardening or ask anyone for guidance. Christians-especially new believers-need to read and study the Word of God. Sometimes, as new Christians, we might also need someone to walk alongside us to disciple us. Don’t assume you know what’s expected of you. Become familiar with God’s Word and what it means to have a relationship with God.
Lesson #2-Take small steps–Instead of planting a large variety of things, I should have started out small; with one or two vegetables and increase the garden over a period of time. As Christians, we sometimes bite off too much, expect too much of others, and ourselves or get burned out in ministry. In frustration we end up disillusioned and walk away from everything because it felt like too much.
Lesson #3-We need to nurture-After all the hard work of digging up the ground and planting the seeds, we failed to do our due diligence by weeding, watering and nurturing the plants. We relied on the rain and maybe our once a week watering. As Christians we are called to discipleship. In doing so, we sometimes need to do more than ‘plant seeds’; we need to nurture ourselves first by spending time in God’s presence.
Lesson #4-Don’t expect to see the fruits (or vegetables) of your labor overnight. I used to get frustrated if I didn’t see the fruits of my labor, and after a while, I lost interest and became less committed to tending to the garden. As Christians, it can be easy to become disillusioned or disenchanted in our walk. While we are new creations, it is still important to stay in prayer, God’s word, and in relationship with others.
Someday I’m going to give gardening a real and honest shot. I will start out small and will be committed to nurturing my garden. I guess you can say that I will be more prepared.
In time, we can see the fruits of our labor by applying the lessons learned from gardening into our Christian walk. Just imagine the magnificent salads you could create from a well nurtured vegetable garden.