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More than "Miracle-Grow"

Try as I might, my gardening expeditions have produced very little fruit. I spent about three years in a row working the soil, creating flowerbeds, and then planting the vegetables of the season. My hopes were that one of those above ground beds would become a lush vegetable garden. My actual production resembled dead vines, undeveloped melons, and a tremendous harvest for the birds on my tomato plants! Did I harvest what I planted? Most would say, "No", but when you explore the work performed AFTER the planting was done, you'd change your answer!! I harvested dead, half-developed stuff, but not really much I could say was a strong 'yield' from the garden. It wasn't for lack of soil, water, or even earthworms. I'd have to say it was lack of something quite out of my control - the temperature of the sun! Sometimes we plan well, set out to execute the plan, and then we harvest very little because we could not control things totally out of our control. We believe there is no fruit produced, but remember even the worst harvest is something we can learn from!

Don't be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he'll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God's Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life. (Galatians 6:7-8)

The fact remains, what is planted must be cultivated for it to grow to maturity! We cannot simply prepare the soil, add some seedlings, then think watering will be enough to produce the harvest we hoped for. The most successful gardeners actually spend time in their gardens! Sometimes we want the fruits, but we aren't willing to make the effort to see it produced! For those of you who are avid gardeners, possessing the coveted "green thumb", you are probably shaking your heads about now. In considering my silly attempt at "producing" a bountiful harvest, you probably feel like asking me what I was thinking! The truth is, I wasn't doing much thinking at all! The same thing is true for most of the times I fell flat on my face in some attempt to do something in life. I did very little thinking and a whole lot of actions came out of that minimal amount of thought. The actions were partly good, but mostly non-fruitful!

I expected something because I put "some" effort into it. I really did not apply myself to the task of "maintaining" what had been begun. This is often the case with lessons God is teaching me - I get it, commit to it, then somewhere down the line, I seem to fizzle out. It is not God's doing that brings me to the place of looking at a lack of "fruit" from what he planted - it is mine! Although I might want to blame him - the ownership fits squarely on my back. You may be surprised to find God has not moved the garden in your life! He still watches over it - hoping for fruit. What he is waiting for is our slowing down, taking the time for his Spirit to "turn-over" the soil of our garden, tending all those tender leaves of new growth, until fruit is finally coaxed forth the coolness of our heart's soil. In order to bring forth the good fruit, he even has to remove a few weeds which over-shadow the fruit he is producing. He is much more committed to this gardening process than we are. We cannot deny the laws of sowing and reaping. When we allow the birds to steal away the best of the harvest before it develops fully, or resist the pressure of pushing past the hardened, cold soil of our hearts with the new growth he is producing, we will see much less of a harvest within our lives. When we yield to his "tilling" and "tending", the harvest is much richer - indeed, we'd call it "bountiful".

Bounty is the opposite of stunted. Bounty bespeaks the generous care of a loving gardener. Stunted growth bespeaks the slow, almost stopped growth caused by untended soil. Both conditions of our hearts have signs of growth - but only one yields a harvest of highest worth. What will be your harvest today? Just askin!

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