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A Big Lesson from a little garden
“You reap what you sow”. How often have we heard that one?
In previous homes, we often had a little garden. There are SO many lessons for God’s children from such a small plot of ground. In the house we live in now, there is not much sun-filled areas due to all the trees around so we have not had a vegetable garden. But after watching an episode on gardens from “Little Bear”, my three old niece asked me if we could have a garden for her. So we dug up a small patch together, and she and I planted a few carrots, beans, peas and even a couple tomato plants. It was fun teaching her to scatter the seed in an organized way rather than empty the whole packet of seeds in one spot! But Poppy and granddaughter had fun with that. That little patch is getting interesting and got me thinking about a message I had given a couple years ago.
Sometimes it gets downright discouraging reaping some of what we’ve sown. Sometimes what comes up doesn’t even resemble what you thought you had sown. Other times, we know there was some bad seed in there too. We’ve all surely experienced that. Haven’t we all, at times in our lives – especially when younger and more foolish – sown wild oats and then prayed for a crop failure? Or sowed even good seed, but didn’t watch it, and so over time the bugs, birds, slugs and mildew – or overcrowding weeds – ruined our hoped-for harvest.
But here’s one of my favorite many lessons from a home garden:
If your hoped-for Garden of Eden looks more like a Garden of Weedin’ – it doesn’t have to stay that way. Maybe somehow a lot of weed seeds got in that soil. That’s what got planted – and so that is what you’re reaping. But I learned that if I worked the soil, pulled out the weeds before they went to seed, planted new flowers and vegetables, in time – guess what? I started reaping what I had sown again. But this time, over time, it was becoming a beautiful garden again.
Father in heaven wants to encourage us. His children encourage their brothers and sisters as well. When we see someone who had once planted a lot of wild oats reaping what he/she had sown, tell them: “you can plant a new garden and have a new life, a new crop in time. You don’t have to think your life will always be a garden of weeds because of what you sowed long ago”. Encourage that person. Believe he’s entitled to enjoy his new garden. The old weedy garden is gone. It’s a thing of the past. There’s no need to remind him of the past, ugly garden he once had.
What am I saying?
Don’t despair if you are reaping the consequences of bad seed you once sowed. In time, a new crop comes up. Father lets us start over and He believes in his power to change us, even if some people don’t believe in real conversion. People like to go back and harp on the past. That’s what the Accuser of the Brethren does, but God’s children aren’t like the Accuser.
Someone sent me a message the other day that said the reason our windshield is a lot bigger than our rear view mirror is because our future is more important and still ahead of us. The past is why we are at the spot we are… but the windshield says, “Look, there’s so much more out there ahead of you. Look ahead, be new, be bold, go in a new direction. Don’t stop where you are.”
Gardens are like that too. Your life is a like that garden. It won’t stay the way it is now. We have to work our lives. The main work is on our knees and coming to know our Savior and Father more and more, and to fall deeper in love with our Husband and let His mind work in us. Work the soil of your life. Plant a new crop – and reap new future. Don’t let carnal people who love to point to your past discourage you. Plant your new garden. This works even for facets of our lives. If our marriage, or finances, or child rearing, or coping with stresses need improvement – “plant a new garden” in those areas. If we want our lives to change, we have to sow new seed. And we will, in time, have a new life. But if we do nothing, or keep doing the same thing, the garden will go to weeds.
Beware, however. Our Adversary (Satan the accuser) likes to remind you of what you were. Just point to the new life we have in Christ, by His power, His righteousness working in our lives – and rebuke those Satanic thoughts to despairingly look back. Yes, I have to do this frequently myself.
Father tells us that He sees the way we end up – not the way we started. Yesterday’s shortcomings and sins – the weeds of life -- are forgiven by the court of heaven, whether people do or not. Take heart in that. Believe in HIS word, regardless of the painful whispers and actions from the accusers of the brethren who may even unknowingly be working for their dad, The Accuser of the brethren.
21 "But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 22 None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live. 23 Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?" says the Lord God, "and not that he should turn from his ways and live?
Now go read verse 24. It’s always how we end up which matters most to God. None of us is yet what we want to be or will be. But praise be to Yahweh – we aren’t what we once were.
Many of you who will read this someday may be going through your own world of hurt because of bad seed you planted. Learn from it. Rip out those old weeds and bad seed. Dig deep. Bring in new soil. Sow new seed of doing good and believing in the new creation Father is making of you.
The angels in heaven are high-fiving in your behalf. The prodigal’s father is rushing out to meet you as you come home (Luke 15:20). He wants you back with everyone! And, brethren who have our Father’s mindset will be treating you the same way: welcoming you to the body of Christ as they see you have changed and are changing (read 2 Cor. 2:5-11 for example). I hope you and I are like that: encouraging and accepting of others. Even those who spent all they had on pigs and whores and did other shameful acts …. know the story of the Prodigal son (Luke 15)? If you realize we all are, to some degree, a prodigal or even the whore in the story – you’ll know the story. It’s our story. Yes, even yours. Compared to God’s holiness, our life, our garden – has often been pretty weedy and even now is a long shot from being a Garden of Eden. In spite of that, Father is welcoming us home. He sees us belonging here, with him and the rest of the community.
I hope readers of my blogs are of the heavenly mindset of encouraging and letting people be God’s new creation. We pray for one another’s conversion process. Paul speaks of some terrible former sinners in the congregation at Corinth, and then says, “Such were some of you…but you were washed…sanctified…and made righteous (justified) in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:9-11).
And who isn’t a former sinner in the congregation of the righteous? But praise be to our Savior and our Father, who are in the business of making all things new… even you, even me.
We’ve all at times messed up. But we can also live in the hope that as we sow good seed going forward – we will in due season reap a wonderful and bountiful harvest of good produce.
If this topic stirs something in you, hear the whole message in the teaching given Oct 2008, “Lessons from Sowing and Reaping”. If these blogs encourage you, tell others about the website or forward this blog to them. Maybe they need a word of encouragement. God knows I sure have needed it many times in my life and God bless those who were there for me when I needed it. YOU be that person coming alongside and being a comforter too. But that’s another sermon – about being “a Parakletos”.
Keep planting new seed and enjoy your new garden. The new you. Lift up your spirits for you’re on the right track.