As I usually do, earlier this year I planted a little vegetable garden. It’s not too elaborate, but it gives me something to enjoy and provides us with a variety of wonderfully fresh things to eat.
Early this summer, we ate lots of yellow squash. Then the peppers started rolling in, and before long, there were fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. As the season came to a close, we had all the okra we wanted.
Last Friday, I plowed it under. There will be no more vegetables from the garden this year. In the past, I have planted some fall plants, but this year I am going to let the ground rest.
There was a mixture of sadness and satisfaction as I tilled up the rows. Satisfaction, because it is a good thing to work and enjoy the fruits of one’s labor. Sadness, because this season is over.
I have learned so many lessons in my life in the garden. I have learned that you must follow certain rules if you are going to be successful. You have to plant at the right time. Plant too early, and frost will kill off the plants. More than once (especially when I lived in Michigan), I had to plant twice. Plant too late, and the harvest will be limited due to the heat.
You also need to plant things in the right places. You need to rotate the crops from time to time. You need to fertilize and water in the right amounts and at the right times. And you need to pick the vegetables when they are ready. If you neglect any of these things, the garden will not be productive.
But even when you do everything right, it depends on other things as well. Is your soil good? Do you get enough rain at the right time? Did you buy high-quality seeds or plants?
Gardening has helped teach me to trust the Lord even more. I can only do so much. He is the Lord of the harvest. After all, it is God who made the dirt, the seed, the rain and everything else involved in my garden. I have to remember that I cannot do any of that alone — it depends on him.
I am reminded of two great verses in the New Testament. Jesus said in John, “Without me, you can do nothing.” But Paul wrote in Philippians, “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” May God help us to remember those two great truths.