How Does Your Garden Grow?
This week’s eNewsletter feature
was written by Rev. Raymond Hylton,
FPCE senior pastor.
Every Spring, my wife Judith and I begin to share the joy of planting a small garden at the side of the house.
The initial work of breaking up crusty soil packed hard by winter’s snow, removing weeds, and planting various seeds and seedlings, is arduous and stressful on my old joints. But, after a few months, we get to enjoy our lettuce, carrots, corn, tomatoes, peppers, and we always have more than enough to share with others.
For numerous reasons, the dreary COVID year of 2020 came and went, and we did not plant a garden. Though, in one sense, that’s not true. We did plant something. In the spring of 2020, we planted seeds of “nothing” and so reaped nothing in return.
Life, work, marriage, and faith itself — all of it is a lot like planting a garden. What you put into the “soil” of your life, work, marriage, and faith always produces something, some kind of outcome. The question is: Do you know what you are planting? And are you happy with your harvest? Until you can answer those two questions, you will keep getting what you’ve always gotten, like it or not.
Our new year of 2021 is still young. Why not take some time and determine what you want in your life, marriage, work, ministry, finances, and other relationships – how you relate with the Lord and with people?
That’s a special beauty of the human mind. Unlike other creatures on the planet, human beings can envision an image of the future; we can dream, and, based on those projections, work to reshape and improve our present reality.
This is what Wendy Kopp. CEO and Co-founder of Teach For All did. While a student at Princeton University, she dug in and explored why poor communities in America’s big cities provided second-rate education for children. How could they expect a great harvest from poorly tended soil?
She began dreaming of planting passionate, gifted college students, giving up two years of their post-graduate lives to go teach in these communities. At the end of her own college years at Princeton, she wrote a 100+ page thesis, which, as a serious business concern, she narrowed down to 30 pages and fashioned a four-page action plan. Then she mailed her thesis to 30 business executives to spread awareness and raise money.
Everywhere she went, people said, “This is a great idea, but college kids won’t do this.” But Wendy was steadfast in her belief that they would, and, after one year of persistent effort, Wendy found herself on stage speaking to 500 “Teach For America” teachers.
She recently wrote on her Twitter feed, “I want all my students to leave school with their heads held high, knowing that who they are isn’t a limitation, but a superpower.”
That’s such a clear and shining example of the power of sowing and reaping in our complex and often troubled world today. But, at base, in one form or another, we all must start by putting something into the soil.
This year, many of you are planting seeds of “Bible Reading” in your life. It won’t be easy removing weeds of excessive TV watching, screen addiction, and perfunctory busyness. But with God’s help and your own persistence, your life will surely produce fruit that will bless you and others.
The Apostle Paul wisely says:
Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time if we do not give up (Galatians 6:7-9).
Expecting a great harvest in 2021,
Pastor Ray Hylton