Last year I had big and wild dreams of planting a vegetable garden and feeding my family from its homegrown yumminess all summer long. The garden did well for a while but life got busy and I stopped tending and let it go.
Among a few things I did plant with success were these amazing artichokes. We got about 2 crops from them and that was it. It was my first try with artichokes so I enjoyed them while they lasted and then figured it was over. I cut the leaves back and as the garden was let go the little stumps just sat there.
I didn’t water them any more. I didn’t pull the weeds around them. I didn’t tend to the soil to prepare it for this year’s planting. I did nothing.
Months passed and I began to notice the leaves had grown and become quite bushy. I never bothered looking too closely at them lest I would feel the need to actually do something. On occasion I think avoiding something altogether will remove it from my mind. Don’t you?
A few weeks ago, I went out there and look what I found.
So I guess I’m more of an accidental gardener because it seems like when I don’t try hard to keep something alive, it thrives and does better than when I put time and effort into a plant. Some day I’ll show you the roses I planted by my trashcans that are awesome.
The reason gardening seems to keep drawing me in despite my failures and fear of bugs is how God speaks to me through the process.
In his letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul talks about how foolish it is to boast about following human leaders. He says to them, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” (1 Cor. 3:6-7)
Only God makes things grow.
It seems like we live in a culture where if you have a problem, a particular sin you are battling against, a relationship issue or whatever… there is always someone, a book, a conference, something that will tell you that if you do this… or you do that… if you try a little harder… things will change…things will get better.
My artichokes are reminding me this year while God may appreciate my effort and loves excellence and perfection is only found in Him and what He loves most is when we finally realize He can do a better job than we can at pretty much anything.
He wants to prove to me again and again, He is the one who makes things grow. He is the one who gives life and sustains life and sometimes no matter how hard I try unless I’m willing to let things go, I can actually stifle growth.
What have you learned in your garden this year?