I came out here to relax and to write.
My veggie patch is 5 weeks old, it looks far more confident than it did a month ago. The Broccoli is broad and tall, the cherry tomatoes have almost out grown their frame, the peas have flowered and the strawberries are starting to fatten.
As I sat down with my coffee I turned on my iphone. Smudging my finger across the screen I summoned my itunes and after having music in my ears I smudge the screen again to summon my Bible app, flicking to Ecclesiastes. My goal had been to write a reflection of the beautiful garden that lay before me. But as has always been the case this last year, my mind was racing; garden, music, bible, coffee.
Ding; so and so has just commented on your photo
Ding; you are invited to the event…….
I came out here to relax and to write but I was restless and a clouded mind paralyzes the pen. In fact, I felt rude and immature planting my scattered self amidst the quiet, contended garden bed.
A veggie garden does not self promote, nor does it interrupt you with meaningless banter.
It simply grows.
Some weeks faster, some weeks slower.
And it grows according to its kind.
The small head of Broccoli stands proud upon the stalk, whilst the strawberries lie amongst the soil. The peas search relentlessly for a lattice or fence to grasp to vainly displaying their white petals, while the carrots develop their beauty underground.
By the grace of God I take my headphones off, ignore the ding of my phone and just sit for a while.
This is far more beautiful.
Jesus and the apostles use this image of agricultural growth so often in their teaching. The farmer scattering seed, the tree and its fruit, the parable of the sower, Paul the seed sower, Apollos the waterer and God the grower. No doubt this was because it was an obvious example that was prominent in the life of any 1st Century man or woman, in the same way that the internet, iphones and self service supermarket lanes are to us today. But I do wonder, is there something more to the agricultural imagery than just familiarity?
Over the next few weeks I want to explore some of these and in true blogger style Ill accompany each post with an update or a reflection of my own veggie garden. For anyone who reads these posts, Ill throw a dinner party for you all in a few weeks where we can feast on Gods good provision to us through this garden.
But my thought for today is this; real growth is slow and sporadic.
I know we all expect instant results these days but Im afraid discipleship doesnt work that way.
Jesus said; I am the vine and you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit.
Ive been watching my veggie patch for weeks now, it grows each day but still not much fruit. Thats ok though, because I know that the fruit is coming and in the meantime I must continue to tend the plants and be patient.
Ive found that my tendency is turn away from Jesus when I dont see any immediate results. I want the Spirits work to be more like a business transaction than a garden. But God is far more loving than a suit and tie shifting numbers. He tends those branches attached to the vine, he provides men and woman to come water the plant and over time, in His time, He brings the growth that he has planned.
And what is that growth?
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son. Rom.8:29
Over time He grows us to be more like his Son Jesus.
Some years faster, some years slower.
In obedience to the Father and in love for each other.
My prayer is that I may find joy in this slow, Jesus focussed, growth. That I may critique my often shallow, instant-result driven heart with the slow, powerful, transforming weight of Jesus and his Spirit. And that in doing so I may never take my eyes of him.