Better Boys Among Us

They were just as delicious as the looked on the vine.

The last few years my reputation as a farmer has suffered. I have planted and labored in the fields only to find the deer and other varmints beating me to the harvest or droughts beating down my plants or insects beating down my hopes. It is enough to make a preacher…well, you understand. It is not like I have flowing pastures of excess to watch over. Really it is just a couple of small raised beds, and three containers. Therefore every squash counts and every tomato is special.

Perhaps my vigilance this year paid off. Maybe it was the “nasty” spray I used that repels deer, varmints, traveling evangelists and my wife from entering the back yard. Whatever the reason I am happy to report that today there are Better Boys among us – nice, ripe, fat, juicy tomatoes that are making their way to the supper table.

Some say the summer begins when school ends for the year. Others remark that it does not really begin until the neighborhood pool is open. Still others mark the beginning of summer with Memorial Day, while technically it does not arrive until Summer Solstice. For me summer begins with the first ripe tomato.

All gardening involves hope and trust. At some point you do all you can then you have to trust to the earth what you have planted and hope that it will come to fruition. Many times it ends in disappointment and some times it exceeds expectations.

I love that line from Jesus when he compares the Kingdom of God to someone who goes out and plants seeds “…and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how.”  I approach gardening like most everything else in life: what else do I need to do? Jesus celebrates the farmer who, after the labor, goes to sleep. At some point there is nothing else you can do but trust and hope and leave it up to God to bring about the growth.

Growing is a gift, a grace. It also means an act of trust and faith will be involved.

Peter Rhea Jones wrote: “Part of Christian discipleship is letting God work.” (The Teaching of the Parables, p. 107) Our role in this journey is planting and harvesting. The growth is a gift, an act of grace.

What is it in your life that you need to trust over to God and all that is left is to wait with hope? I know that all of life needs to be trusted over to God, yet so often I fret, I worry, and I think “if I can just do one more thing.” At some point, however, I need to hand it over: my family, my ambitions, my church, my life – everything.

The rest is up to God and what God has begun, God will bring to a triumphant conclusion.

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