Relaxing in the sun on a gorgeous fall Sunday, my eyes settled on my garden directly in front of me. Having picked the fall potatoes the day before, all that remained were remnants of the once striking marigolds on the border.
My mind couldn’t help but recall this beautiful garden in at its peak.
My mind had started planning this year’s garden back in August of last year. Cold winter days and a long seven days with the flu last year found me reading all I could get my hands on in preparation for the spring and summer garden. My dreams for the garden were as big as I could imagine! Just a few months later, after tireless work and planning, my garden began to produce.
Beautiful pole beans higher than I could reach. Flourishing squash. Expectant potatoes. Late summer came and the busyness of harvesting, cooking, canning, and freezing the bounty left little time to enjoy its beauty. Early fall arrived and most beauty was gone.
Now I sat, looking upon almost-bare ground in the same sunlight that caused such elaborate growth just a few months prior. With Alyssa napping and Drew playing inside, my mind thought back to the times the kids and I worked together in the garden. And the times when I begged them to play by themselves so I could get the work done.
And what did it matter now? Sure, I have veggies in jars and in the freezer, but by this time next year even those will be gone. I began reflecting on all the work over the past year. I began thinking about what it would be like, sitting in this same chair, looking upon this same garden 15 years from now. What will my reflections be?
I think I’ll remember the digging for potatoes, the picking of beans, and the pulling of weeds with the children. I think I’ll smile as I recall the kids laughingly running through the sprinkler and Alyssa stripping because her diaper got soaked. And I think I’ll regret not lingering in those moments longer. I think I’ll regret not asking the kids to come alongside me more, even if I couldn’t get as much done that day.
As I continued contemplating, my mind began to think outside my own family. When it’s all said and done, when someone else is living on the land I so carefully cultivated, what will matter?
After Jesus fed five thousand men plus women and children, he said to them:
Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval. –John 6:27
Working in my garden has produced innumerable blessings this year. I’ve seen God’s handiwork in a way I never had before. I taught my children first-hand the beauty of God’s design. I’ve tasted the incomparable taste of fresh-grown produce.
But when it’s all said and done, what I’ve done for the Lord and His kingdom will be what will endure. When my life is over, I doubt Jesus is going to count how many cucumbers my garden produced, or how tall my beans were. I believe he’s going to show me who is in the kingdom because I played a small part in their lives. I believe he’s going to remind me what I did for the least of these. (Matthew 25:40)
And I want THAT harvest to be plentiful!
Sitting in the sun, beholding my bare garden, I challenged myself in two areas:
- The people in my family are more important than my projects, even done on their behalf. May my investing in them take top priority.
- Am I spending most of my energy toward a harvest for God’s kingdom or a harvest for mine? Who has God placed in my path to share the love of Christ? To disciple? To encourage?
May I continue these reflections and continue seeking how I can serve my God and build up His kingdom. May His Kingdom become greater, may my ambitions become less.