Spring is here. For a little bit there, it seemed like it might not come, but it was inevitable. And so yesterday the garden work began in earnest. I know this because I got involved. We do this thing called raised bed gardening where you build these large boxes in an effort, which sometimes seems futile, to prevent good soil from escaping through erosion and such. So the boys and I were out, digging and turning, going to Home Depot to pick up some wood to repair rotting parts of the boxes, putting on limestone and fertilizer, raking, mulching … and now two plots, the ones designated for onions and potatoes, are ready to go. Next step will be planting. I was so pleased with the amount of work the boys and I accomplished that I mentioned to one of them, “Well, now all we have to do is plant the potatoes and we’re good to go.” His response was less positive. “Actually, we have to water every day, do tons of mulching and weeding in hot weather, and after three months of labor, we get some … potatoes.” His dramatic pause was perfect. And funny. And, well, true. The product of all of the man hours of preparation, physical labor in digging and repairing boxes, the time invested in planting, watering, weeding, etc… results in two large baskets full of potatoes. Good potatoes, to be sure, but still, it did make me think of the imbalance of work required to fruit received. And of course, like everything in God’s created order, a lesson is always waiting for those who look for it … so I began thinking about how much was required and is required to bear fruit from us poor, weak, sinful souls. The life and cross work of Christ, the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit, the providential work of God working together all things for good … massive amounts of labor for you and for me … we are fruit bearers to be sure, but what an imbalance.
So why do I do this every year? Why not just buy the potatoes? Well, I don’t know but it seems that there is great blessing in the process and seeing the fruit that you played some role in making happen. Maybe what makes us “worth it” to the Lord is not so much something in ourselves, though He does seem to delight in His creation, but more in that God enjoys or receives glory just in the process of turning sinners into saints, in bringing life out of death, strength out of weakness, light out of darkness. Because He keeps at it, year after year. So think about that when you go and plant (or buy) your potatoes.