By Kelvin Ramsey
Deacon at Oasis Church

Life does not have to be like a store-bought tomato.

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. James 5:7

I look forward to the summer. Tomatoes, peppers, corn, squash, beans dance like sugarplums in my head. Vegetables fresh from the garden become a part of my diet. The winter’s soups and stews are banished until the weather turns cool again. Every summer I have a small garden. Even though I come from a heritage of farmers and from a rural area, it never turns out quite as well as I had planned. A few bugs here, a rabbit there, a bit of fungus on the tomatoes, make it somewhat less than perfect. Yet every year I work at it, get the plants or plant the seeds, and expect the best garden yet that produces so much that I share with all those around me.

Jesus constantly used the example of planting, growing, and gardens to tell us about our spiritual lives. Farmers planted with the expectation of a harvest. The harvesters went out to fields full of grain. My garden reminds me of my own spiritual life that may never quite reach perfection because of the sin in my life, but which is constantly planned, sowed, worked, and harvested with the expectation that the next summer’s crop will be even better. I have thought once or twice about not planting a garden because of the previous year’s disappointment. The thought quickly leaves me when I think of the tomatoes from the grocery store (no flavor, a texture like plastic, and rots overnight).

If we choose not to work our spiritual lives because of expectations not met or from previous disappointments, our relationship with God ends up not being plowed, worked, or harvested. The result leaves us with a spiritual life that has all the flavor of a store-bought tomato. I pray that you will work in your spiritual garden and that it will produce a harvest beyond all your expectations!

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