In this life, most of the time, we don’t get to see how our lives have affected other people. And sometimes it’s because we weren’t aware our little seeds of sacrifice, persistent prayers and long-suffering presence–were planted in the souls of our brothers and sisters.
But if we do receive a brief glimpse when the curtain is pulled back, it should encourage us to keep doing the right thing, however most of us aren’t given the luxury of a panoramic view.
I love when spring and fall comes and gardening awaits, to plant one more time, one more year. I also love seeing the results of hard work. When down and out, the beauty of the blooms takes away the sadness of my gloom. Sometimes my discouragement occurs when it seems my labor was in vain, like when I decided to plant some trees that didn’t make it.
One brisk October morning, I bought five Leyland Cypress Pine trees for the purpose of adding privacy around our back yard. It was a chore getting all of them home and a more rigorous job digging. Once the mound of heavy dirt and root bases were put in the holes and watered, I stood with my hands on my hips, staring at the trees, excited about what they would become. Those type of trees are known for growing fast and tall. Months passed and much to my chagrin, only one survived.
I drove back to the nursery to get the majority of my money back. The lady behind the counter admitted the trees were diseased, but sold them anyway. “Is that good customer service?” I asked. Her face dropped, as did my attitude, when I realized those four dead trees had to be dug up.
Gardening has taught me many things, but one truth stands out: some make it, some do not. No matter how much I sweat, how many roots I pull, how often I water, and fertilize, I am never given the guarantee that what was planted will flourish, much less live.
But many authors in the Bible do guarantee what will happen when we plant the wrong stuff in our hearts and in our minds. Listen to Paul.
“You will always harvest what you plant.
Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature
will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature.
But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.
So let’s not get tired of doing what is good.
At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” (Galatians 6:7-9, NLT, emphasis mine)
I love the last three words in that passage: “don’t give up”, and the sentence before: “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good.”
Yeah, I’ve entertained giving up gardening, due to my 61-year-old knees and the squatting, kneeling, and crouching involved, coupled with sometimes finding dead plants that started out healthy, bright, and promising.
And yes, I’ve wanted to give up the Christian life because of the fight it is. The fight with rooting out sin, because of the weeds I let grow in my soul. The tears shed after going my own way when it felt like life was too much. Realizing how much work I need to do if I want to continue to grow as a believer on my own specific pilgrimage–is daunting.
But Paul encourages us: Don’t get tired of doing the right thing! Don’t give up! Who knows, the obedient trail you blaze may just be the seed that someone in your life needs. You may not realize they are walking behind you. And then one day you turn around and see how the seed you planted grew into something beautiful.
Be encouraged by the lyrical music video below: Trees We’ll Never See
Pictures courtesy of “Nelson and his Nikon”