Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Life Lessons Learned in the Garden - Part One

Lesson #1 - Patience

I have been contemplating planting Asparagus this year.  It is a hard decision because I will need to devote a whole bed to this plant, and I will not be rewarded with a crop this year.  Actually, I won't even get much of a crop next year.  It will be three whole years before I will get a return on my investment of planting Asparagus.  In the meantime, one of my beds will be useless and will yield nothing.

I don't have a lot of raised beds.  I could be planting more vegetables that will feed my family this year. So why would I even consider planting Asparagus?  First of all, it is a nutritious, yummy vegetable that is expensive to buy.  I probably won't get to eat much Asparagus if I do not grow it myself. Second, though I will have to wait to wait three years to harvest a good crop, Asparagus will continue to produce from the same plants for more than 20 years!  That is an incredibly good return and highly unusual for a garden vegetable.

We live in a culture of instaneous response.  We want to do as little work as possible, with a fast return.  Unfortunately, things that are truly worth our time are rarely that easy.  Relationships are very much this way.  If we want to have a worthwhile, meaningful relationship, we must be willing to do the work without the expectation of instant gratification.  While we may see a few sprouts of unconditional good works here and there, it takes years to build the kind of trust and intimacy that results in a solid relationship.  We have to be willing to plant our own heart and designate our valuable time without the expectation of a return from the other person.

This is even more difficult in an injured relationship.  We may want to pull out, use our time and energy for something that feels good, but if we can be patient and feed the relationship without asking to reap anything for a time, eventually the harvest could provide a yield that will produce good fruit for a lifetime.  Just think, if we choose not to invest the time and energy, we will never get to taste the fruit of our labor!

God does this for us. He plants His love and His Word within us, constantly reaching out with his grace and mercy, but never forcing us to respond.  He hopes we will choose to be in relationship with Him, but if we do not, I don't think he ever feels he has wasted His time.  

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.  2 Peter 3:8-9

I think I will plant those Asparagus.  It will be hard to wait, but I will try to keep the end result in mind.  After all, what is three years compared to the goodness of 20?

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