Did the lessons of your childhood stick? Are the teachings from long ago easily recalled? I have retained a few and several are reinforced with Scripture verses. I may have been unwilling to listen to Mom or my Sunday School teacher or my Christian Service Brigade officers, but to shut my ears to God? Who would be so foolhardy? Take Paul’s words to the Galatians…
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
Galatians 6:7-8 NASB
Childhood included chores such as helping in the garden. Dad cut potatoes into pieces, each with an eye, for planting. Mom taught us to drop two corn kernels and three beans in a spot with perfect spacing between piles as we moved down the ruler-straight rows. Cucumbers and radishes required little mounds. Lettuce was my personal favorite because lettuce planting began with a bonfire. Days later we turned the cool ashes into the soil then scattered the tiny seeds.
With a few years of experience I could identify the seeds without consulting the packages. As sprouts popped from the soil, I had expectations about how the mature plants in that row would look and what they would produce. I can’t recall a single time when bean seeds produced a crop of potatoes.
Paul’s words took on new life in the garden. I grasped his meaning. I understood the bigger picture that the seeds of my behavior, good or bad, would result in a harvest. The only way to change the harvest is to plant seeds of a different kind.
Granddaughter Fern celebrated my birthday this year with a gift certificate to Select Seeds, a mail order source for outrageously gorgeous flowers. Fern seems wise beyond her months to know already what touches Grandpa’s heart. I browsed the catalog, marked favorites, compiled a list of finalists, and placed my order.
The arrival of the seeds triggered a flurry of activity as I determined which should be started indoors and which would be sown directly once spring’s sunshine chased frost from the garden. The days have flown by and this week I transplanted seedlings to the garden and sprinkled the direct-sow seeds. I’m expecting a showy display throughout the summer. Inquiring minds can follow this link for a description and photos of my seed-starting experiment.
In the planning and preparation stages for this garden project I was reminded of several lessons.
Pay attention to growth habits.
The phrase “sows freely” in the garden catalog is the plant vendor’s way of saying, “You’ll be sorry!” We planted yarrow one season with its beautiful flowers, and bees flocked to the garden. In the second season the floral display expanded exponentially. Early in the third season we embarked on an eradication program. Every flower bed sprouted yarrow, and the other plants in our tiny Eden languished in the face of such stiff competition.
We must make certain the behaviors we accept and the habits we adopt will enhance rather than inhibit our spiritual walk.
Make a selection.
Realize that not choosing is a choice. Too often life sweeps us in directions we don’t really want to go. Be proactive and chart a deliberate course rather than float with the current. What qualities do we admire in those around us? Who exhibits a positive set of attitudes and what seeds can I plant to enjoy a similar harvest in my life? No matter our age, whether teens or senior citizens, we’re sowing seeds that sprout habits and grow into behaviors. Choosing the correct seeds is foundational to reaping the desired harvest.
Tend the garden.
Sowing seeds is a good first step. Bountiful displays of flowers and prolific harvests of fruit and vegetables require much more attention including weeding, mulching, watering, cultivating, and pruning. Sticking with the care of the plants seems easy in April, but under August’s blazing sun only personal discipline will keep us in the garden. Well, that and the joy of the upcoming harvest.
In the garden, if results are not as expected we can uproot, compost, and try again next season. Life offers that option to some extent, but often the seeds we sow bring a harvest of consequences.
Successful gardening requires vigilance and a long-term focus. What seeds are you sowing this season?