Today’s Sunday Scripture is number 2 in a series… Lessons From My Garden. To see the first post“THE PROMISE IS IN THE SEED” click HERE.
I met Martha Stewart… yes, I did!
It was in early March of 1989. I went to see her give a slide show presentation on gardening. It was awesome!!! I was totally enthralled with her fabulous gardens… especially her vegetable garden!
After the presentation I stood in a long long line clutching her new gardening book to my breast waiting for a brief audience with the queen of “it’s a good thing”!
She signed her Gardening Book for me and we exchanged a few brief pleasantries! It was a heady experience… meeting Martha.
She will probably never know that… in a round about way… she taught me a very valuable spiritual lesson… the lesson of seed multiplication!
When I got home from my day with Martha… my head was swimming with fanciful and brilliant ideas!
I poured over Martha’s garden book… oooohing and aaaahing and loving it’s beautiful images and fascinating garden inspirations!
One idea really caught my attention and imagination…
FRENCH INTENSIVE VEGETABLE GARDENING!
I had just forayed into the world of vegetable gardening a couple years earlier, and although it was a new love… I was not very good at it! I knew that FRENCH INTENSIVE VEGETABLE GARDENING would make me a great vegetable gardener of Martha Stewart proportions!
I convinced Bobby (poor dear, he certainly has a way of getting wrapped up in my schemes) to enlarge my garden from being quite manageable to a gargantuan proportion! From there he became my ditch digger as he mounded up 26 square raised beds with trench walkways in between. He laid straw in the paths and when the garden was dug out it looked a whole lot like Martha’s!
So far this FRENCH INTENSIVE VEGETABLE GARDENING idea seemed to be working out quite well! I loved the idea of FRENCH INTENSIVE VEGETABLE GARDENING!
Now, all we had to do was to plant each mound intensively with different kinds of vegetables… peppers and carrots and cabbage and cauliflower and beans and peas and zucchini and cucumbers and eggplants and lettuce and tomatoes… lots and lots of tomatoes!
This crowded planting would keep the weeds pretty much at bay! And it actually did… at first!
It was also during this time that I became very interested in canning or “putting up” as it is known around here. I was determined to put up all the vegetables from our garden that we could not eat or give away! I could just imagine my pantry gleaming with jar upon jar filled with colorful vegetables… the best of the summer right there in my pantry in the middle of winter!
It’s amazing how sometimes things come together to create the perfect storm! It was also at this time that I became enamored with heirloom plants. They looked so beautiful in Martha Stewart’s Gardening book! And I wanted to try them all!
So, Bobby and I spent an entire weekend planting our 26 raised french beds with all kinds of great vegetables! And I planted 26 tomato plants… many were heirloom varieties. It was a beautiful sight to behold!
My garden was my pride and joy early that summer! Everyone who came to visit got a tour of our magnificent garden and a bag of whatever was ready to be harvested.
My wee children loved to work in the garden with me and pick zucchini and lettuce and find bugs and dig out the stray weeds. We were living a real slice of idyllic Americana!
Our young family would work together in the early evenings and then I would spend a few blissful hours after we put the children to bed canning all sorts of wonderful culinary delights from the fruit of the garden!
By the time late July rolled around the weather became very hot and humid! Working in the garden was not such a joy as sweat would roll off the tip of my nose as I bent down to weed or prune or pick.
The plants, especially the tomatoes, started to go into overtime production! We didn’t have lots of tomatoes… we had tons of tomatoes!
There was staking involved and watering and pinching back and the weeds became more vengeful, multiplying far more than Martha ever talked about!
But that was nothing compared to the red wagon loads of tomatoes that were brought up from the garden each evening! Wagon loads that had to be washed and canned or given away to all the neighborhood!
My hands were so stained with green tomato vine that they no longer would come clean with a good scrubbing and I woke up dead tired and sore every morning!
Why did Martha not mention that it would take a full time staff to care for a garden and keep it looking like the pictures in her beautiful new book? She made it look and sound so effortless! I was certainly flunking in effortless!
It was then that I learned a very valuable lesson… one of great practical and spiritual significance!
God has used my garden to teach me many valuable spiritual lessons!
He was teaching me that very hot, steamy, tomato filled summer about the universal principle of…
Every seed has an instruction for multiplication. Deep in it’s embryo it has a blueprint of what the seed will be and instructions to multiply it’s same kind! It’s part of God’s wonderful design!
So from one little seed comes a harvest of may more like it’s kind!
My 26 little tomato seeds became 26 starter plants which became 26 mature plants baring hundreds and hundreds of tomatoes containing thousands and thousands of like kind seeds! Which could be planted to produce the cycle over and over again!
We can see this example in a parable Jesus told…
And He was teaching them many things in parables (illustrations or comparisons put beside truths to explain them) and was saying to them in His teaching,
Listen to this! Behold, a sower went out to sow…
And other seed (of the same kind) fell into good (well-adapted) soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing, and yielding up to thirty times as much, and sixty times as much, and even a hundred times as much as had been sown.
And he who has ears to hear, let him be hearing (and let him consider and comprehend!). Mark 4:2-3, 8-9
And here is how Jesus explained this beautiful universal truth…
The sower sows the Word…
And those (seeds) sown on good (well adapted) soil are the ones who hear the Word (gospel) and receive and accept and welcome it and bear fruit~ some thirty times as much as was sown, some sixty times as much, and some (even) a hundred times as much. Mark 4:13-14, 20
Here our Lord is saying that the good news… the gospel of salvation… was given. The seed is the word of the gospel. And that seed was “sown” into soil that would accept it well…. it was heard and accepted as turth by someone willing to hear. And that word brought saving belief and much “fruit”… good works ordained by God for His glory and for the benefit of others. The “seed” of the word produced and kept on producing saving belief, glory to God and good for men!
Seeds of thoughts and words and deeds multiply.
Seeds multiply after their own kind… it’s part of their genetic make-up!
Good thoughts and deeds produce more good thoughts and deeds..
Fruit! God calls the seeds of the Word that Jesus talked about FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance) , kindness, goodness (meekness, humility), faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (self-restraint). Galatians 6:22-23
Now this harvest is worth planting the seeds in our lives that produce it!
There is a spiritual flip-side to this truth… if we plant the seeds of ungodly, bad thoughts and words and deeds into our lives… the fruit we will produce will ALWAYS be bad…
immorality, impurity, sensuality,idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, envying, drunkenness carousing and things like these, which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 6:20-21
Seed produces after it’s own kind… bad seed produces bad and plenty of it! More than most people ever want or can dream!
By the end of my FRENCH INTENSIVE GARDENING summer I had no more pantry room for jars of canned tomatoes and the tomatoes were taking over my whole kitchen. Tomatoes filled my double sink and bowls and baskets and filled the red wagon outside my kitchen door.
My house smelled like tomatoes… my hair and clothes smelled like tomatoes… and so did my children! My husband was so tired of eating tomatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
I had given so many tomatoes to my neighbors that on one of my evening rounds with the red wagon filled with give-away tomatoes I found a sign on a neighbor’s back door saying…”no more tomatoes, Yvonne”!
Not only was my seed harvest affecting me but also my home, my children, my husband and my neighborhood!
The like-kind harvest was so huge that it spilled over to those around me, consuming us all!
It started out harmless enough, but kept on producing until it became not only my problem but other’s too!
Now this is the big take-away lesson… we must watch the seeds of thoughts and words and deeds we plant because not only will they multiply… a lot… they will also flow over to those around us. Usually those we love… for good and evil!
Remember, the harvest is in the seed! We need to be very very thoughtful about our “seeds”… what we think and say and do. For those ideas and words and deeds will produce a like-kind harvest!
No wonder we see generational alcoholism, abuse, drug addiction, and out and out evil craziness! A seed will replant to keep the same kind of seed/harvest cycle going!
The good news… literally, is that if we plant the Word of God into our lives… being willing to obey and submit our wills to It… the harvest will be an amazing one.
If we think and say and do those things that God thinks and says and does our reward WILL be filled with God’s glory and WILL pour out it’s abundant overflow of a beautiful like-kind harvest into the lives of others. And in turn, new seeds of eternal life salvation will root in the readied soil of other people’s lives… producing a new harvest. It will go on and on!
By the end of our FRENCH INTENSIVE GARDENING summer the harvest had become so big that we literally let tomatoes rot on the vines! We thought that if we just ignored the problem… that huge tomato factory at the end of our yard… it would take care of itself. After all, frost would come and the tomato plants would die off.
We can never get rid of a problem by ignoring it. It will raise it’s ugly head and come back even stronger! But that is for next week!
Unfortunately, God had yet to teach me about another universal truth of sowing and reaping… seeds planted will grow, even if WE don’t plant them ourselves! Or in other words… the principle of the garden “VOLUNTEERS”!