When I lived with my grandparents as a child, I loved spending time in their garden. Both my Grampa and Nana were prolific gardeners, creating and maintaining a beautiful rose garden, flowerbeds, fruit trees, orchids and a huge vegetable patch.
My brother and I each kept a gardening diary, where we recorded the work we did in our own little sections. I wish I knew what happened to that little diary, I’m sure I could re-learn a thing or two from the wisdom it contained.
I don’t know if it’s because I’ve lived in over 20 different houses since then, but I haven’t consistently kept up with the habit of gardening. Once I built a raised garden and planted some vegetables, only to find I was moving out a few weeks later. As a Salvation Army officer, we can receive ‘changes of appointment’, which means we are on the move to a new role—and often a new house.
At my current house, using the word ‘garden’ to describe what was there feels a little too generous. A narrow strip and small square of dirt out the front of the house, and a strip down the fence line at the side of the house, were the extent of what I had.
I really missed being able to grow something simple like tomatoes, so I talked with my friend Lachie, and got permission for him to build a couple of raised garden beds. It’s been an exciting process over this year as the few existing plants were removed, the new boxes were built, and recently filled in with fresh dirt. I was overseas when the dirt arrived, so it was exciting to come home and see the freshly-filled garden beds ready for planting.
When I got home I went out and bought some seeds and plants, with grand ideas of never needing to buy vegetables again. I planted them on the Saturday and when I woke up on Sunday morning, I eagerly went out to check on them, just to make sure they hadn’t been stolen overnight.
I know it was completely unrealistic, but I was secretly hoping to see a change in them. You know, to be able to tell that they were already putting their roots down into the soil and growing.
But in order for these seeds and seedlings to produce crops, my job is not done. They will need watering, weeding and a watchful eye. The tomatoes will need to be staked as they grow and the fruit starts to appear. If I want to see a good harvest, I will need to nurture the plants.
Life is a bit like my garden. Our lives can flourish or fade depending on the care and attention we give it. The kinds of seeds we sow will determine the crops we reap. Unforgiveness and bitterness will grow in our lives like weeds, choking the good things trying to grow. But if we regularly read the Bible and let its wisdom sink in, it will be like a good seed that will produce good fruit. We can nurture our lives by what we focus on, the people we spend our time with and what we invest in. And our lives will show what kind of seeds we have been planting!
It was a pure coincidence that I planted the garden three days after this year’s ‘change of appointments’ came out—and yes I am staying put! So I should get to eat this crop… unless the birds or neighbours get to them first!
By Shar Davis (c) (c) 'War Cry' magazine, 6 October 2018, p3 - You can read 'War Cry' at your nearest Salvation Army church or centre, or subscribe through Salvationist Resources.