As I was taking care of my baby plants this morning a stray thought popped into my mind. Something, or rather someone, I hadn't thought about in a long time. My grandfather. By the time I came along my grandfather was very limited in his movements by rheumatoid arthritis (Oh, how I wish some of modern medicine would have been available back then). I loved listening to his stories and advice. He got around with the use of a wheelchair or cane, depending on how his day way going.
Why did my mind bring up my grandfather while tending my plants? Because my grandfather was a farmer, even when his movement was restricted by that awful disease. He may not have always been able to go out into the fields himself, but he guided the work. Farmers from all around would come to ask my grandfather's opinion on various plants. The workers on my grandfather's farm varied, but when I was small they included my father, my uncle (who I haven't seen in more years than I care to admit), as well as my mother and grandmother, and even me and my brothers once we were old enough.
Farming is hard work. While not always seen, the work goes on year round. I honestly didn't realize that until lately. Even in winter when the ground appears dead, the farmer is working, planning, preparing, for the next crop. The grounds have to be prepared, fertilized, and watch and remove any noxious weeds that may take root.
These wonderful people in my life, my family, may have thought they were just going about their business while working on the farm, but they actually taught me a larger priceless lesson. While farming work is hard, and may appear fruitless at times, there is a reward in the end. With farming, the reward is the produce.
As I thought on my wonderful grandfather, actually both my grandparents, who were taken way too soon, my thoughts then moved to my Heavenly Father. He too works hard for me. God's lessons in my life do seem to come in odd packages these days, but they sure are powerful.
Weeding my plants this morning I was fussing. Dog-gone centipede grass and weeds. I get it my young plants some breathing room, and these unwanted plants reach out their tentacles and crawl back in. The grass and weeds choke out the nutrients and sun from my newborn plants. Not just the weeds are a challenge; poor branches on the plants can be a problem because they too pull away nutrients to help the plant grow. These "sucker" branches have to be pruned in order for the plant to become strong.
Then it hit me, the sins and unnecessary busy-ness of life, that I allow to creep back into my life are just like the centipede grass, weeds, and sucker branches. If I fail to stay in God's Word, following him, allowing the weeding and pruning in my heart and life, my undesirable behaviors and sins will slink back into my life, choking God from me. Ohhhh, what an image that idea created. My reward for working hard for God, following close to Him and His Word, doing the work He calls me to do, is eternal life.
Thank you, God, for continuing to work in my life, even when my fleshly ground looks dead, with no fruit in sight. I long to produce the fruits in my life that You are cultivating!
(Jesus speaking) “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that does not produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. John 15: 1-9 (NLT)