Gardening. It's a beautiful thing. Would never have thought so before I actually started gardening. It seems I learn a lesson every time I step foot in the dirt. With every weed pulled, I am reminded of the constant care the Father takes in His garden, my heart. The constant watering reminds me of the life that must be constantly poured over my soul from the well of life that is His Word. I am aware of and must take precautionary measures against the constant, ongoing invasion from every bug, disease, and sprig of grass that assults my garden, just as it is with my heart.
In my garden this year are three cherry tomato plants. So far this year, I've harvested only about fifteen cherry tomatoes. I also have cucumber plants from which I've harvested about thirty cucumbers. I planted both plants at the same time. I water them the same amount. I've given them both fertilizer. I've weeded both areas the same. Overall, I've cared for them exactly the same. Why have my cucumbers produced so much more volume then that of my tomatoes? By nature, cucumbers are much larger so that for every cucumber produced it would take maybe fifteen or more cherry tomatoes to equal the same volume. Theoretically, my tomatoes should be producing roughly fifteen tomatoes per cucumber. I have a friend who has tomato plants that have been this productive, as her plants are twice the size of mine.
Why is it that in my garden one plant has been much more fruitful then another?
Why does it seem like whatever plant in the garden of my heart that produces patience is withered and dead? If the fruits of the Spirit must be grown what do we do while they are still ripening?
Recently, at church I've been learning about the
fruits of the Spirit Paul talked about in Galations 5. Last Sunday the message was about patience. There have been
plenty opportunities to exercise patience this week. I've been a
struggle. I asked the Lord last night why I was having such a hard time.
I felt that whisper in my heart, What do you do when there is not enough fruit in your garden to feed your family?
Well I would go buy some. Then I remembered that my friend with an abundance of tomatoes gave me some of her excess. She gave me a lot actually. More then enough to get me through.
I really believe that God is my source and that He knows when I'm running low on a resouce. He has more then enough. He always gives freely of Himself. In fact, all that He is, is inside of me. Even though I'm growing and maturing and may even be lacking in some areas, all that He is, is within my reach. When I'm out of patience or gentleness, He gives it to me. He gives me the gift of patience because He gave me the gift of His Spirit. When I lack peace or joy, He gifts me with them. He gets me through until those fruits have ripened in my Spirit. Some areas of my heart are more fruitful then others. Like my cucumbers and kale, I have had more then enough and have been delighted to give away much of my harvest.
As He sees a need, He also blesses me with opportunites of growth. He knows exactly how much we can handle and is a never-ending source of good gifts. He loves giving them and is happy to do so.
Isn't it interesting how some people are more fruitful in areas that you may be completely lacking in? I have a friend that seems to be extra-fruitful in the area of love. She really represents so acurately how the Father loves. I have another friend who is so faithful. It seems, no matter what the circumstance, I can alway count on her to come through. I'm not really sure what my strength is. I seem to be lacking in every area HA! Perhaps it's because I've only recently been tilled, fertilized, and planted. Many seeds have taken root and are sprouting but are not yet producing fruit. All the gifts of the Spirt were planted at the same time. Some have come up sooner then other's depending on the fertilizer, or opportunites of growth they were given.
It's beautiful to be in a communitte of excess. So many times, when I've lacked peace or joy someone has called and encouraged me. Out of the excess of their love, gentleness, and kindness they have carried me along until those fruits have ripened. I see this as blessing from Him.
What a lesson this has been for me. No longer do I see my lack as something to be embarrassed about. He's all that I need and He simply reminds me that the pain I feel is just growing pains. It's a process and I'm ripening. In the mean time He doesn't leave me all alone to provide myself. He's there. He sees. He gives me good gifts.
Eph 2:7 MSG
Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and
the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is
all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let
him do it. It's God's gift from start to finish!