Granny Smith finally got her four-year-old granddaughter to play in the garden the spring. They planted seeds and watered the soil.
The granddaughter came back for a visit in the fall. She screamed with delight at the orange pumpkins, green squash, yellow corn and purple eggplants. ?Mommy, Daddy, look what we made!?
?Oh, dear one,? Granny said. ?We planted, but God gave the growth. Neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.? (1 Corinthians 3:6-7)
I love the harvest season with the combines out in the fields. I walked through East Lake Park amid the tall corn and held a cobb in my hand. I wondered with ?a-maize-ment? at the miracle of the stalk and seeds. The fall reminds me that although the farmers grow the harvest by carefully preparing the soil and planting in spring, then nourishing them all summer, it?s God?s design that produces fruit from seeds.
I don?t know how that works at all. The plants would grow and produce fruit and vegetables in the wild. Their yield would not be as plentiful without the attention, but still we cannot take any credit for the final product. Farmers manage God?s seeds and fruits, but God created the first fruits and seeds and how they work. However, we do get to add to the abundance.
Rev. Robert Blezard writes in an article for the Stewardship of Life that fall harvest provides a wonderful metaphor for how we are stewards of all the blessings that God gives us. We know that God has given us wonderful, amazing gifts, such as family, community, church, health, intelligence, time and relationships. We also know that we are responsible for caring for them and working hard to provide the ideal conditions under which they will benefit ourselves, our families and our communities.
Blezard shares these gifts that we can tend in the garden of our lives:
1. Maintaining the gift of our bodies by eating right, exercising and getting plenty of sleep, we increase the likelihood we will live longer, healthier, robust and resilient lives.
2. Nourishing our gifts of intelligence and wisdom through education, reading, exploring, curiosity and continually learning, we will be best able to understand and improve the world around us.
3. Cultivating our gift of faith through prayer, worship, scripture, generosity, love and service, our lives bear fruits of the spirit ? love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)
4. Loving and tending to our spouses, children, parents, siblings and other relatives, we build strong, healthy families and develop caring, purposeful individuals who can make a difference.
Our farmers are stewards of the earth, not only understanding how to make the most of God?s gift of plant life but also working tirelessly to achieve it. They are partners with God to create a bounty of blessings for our dinner table.
We are stewards of our lives, not only understanding how to best use our gifts of time and talent and treasure but also faithfully striving to make the most of all with which we have been entrusted. We are partners with God to create a bounty of blessings for ourselves, our communities and our world.
May we be good stewards of God?s blessings to us.