I am excited this year to have a garden. Now that we live on 5 acres there is plenty of room to have a garden. Growing up as a child in Cedarville, we had a large garden. I did not like all the work that went into having a garden. I did not like weeding the garden, picking the produce, or cleaning the produce; but I did like eating it. I did not realize how good that homegrown produce was until I had eaten store bought produce and realized the flavor was so much richer when it could be picked with my own hands and eaten when it was ripe and ready to be plucked from the plant. I had a small garden years ago, and the year we moved from there I had the best tasting strawberries I can ever remember. The flavors were so rich and bold. To say the least, my winter has been spent dreaming about tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, green beans, potatoes, cucumbers, etc. I realize it will take time for some of this to all take shape and produce a harvest, but the anticipation of what is to be is exciting. The quest between my dreams of this great tasting produce and the plot of ground it must come from is going to take some work. I have a few more trees to cut down, a lot of ground to till, a fence to build, and seeds and plants to plant. Then comes the maintenance of the garden through watering and weeding until one day, the fruit of my labors can be enjoyed.
In the end, I can do everything in order to enjoy the end result: the fruit or vegetables; but I cannot actually make the produce or the plant grow. I can plant the seeds, I can make sure the soil is amended perfectly, but the end results are in God’s hands. I have two options. I can sit by the piece of property I have picked for my garden and wait and pray for the produce to appear. My second option is to prepare the soil, plant the seeds, water the seeds, and make sure I keep the weeds out of the garden. It seems rather obvious which one has a higher likelihood of producing some produce to enjoy at the end of the season.
“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” (I Corinthians 3:6, 7). So many things in life can be related to this analogy of a garden. These verses remind us that we must do the due diligence of evangelism at all times with all people, but the end result is in God’s hands. God is the only One that can prick someone’s heart and bring them to Himself. God is the only One who can convict someone’s heart to cause them to turn from their sin. No matter how hard we try or pray, the end result is God’s.
When we fully realize this concept, it removes a weight. It defines our responsibility. When we try to produce the fruit ourselves and make the results what we think they ought to be, it produces a burden on our hearts. This level of responsibility that we take on ourselves also shows our lack of faith in God. Only God can give the answer to our prayers. Only God can give the results to our labors. Only God can cause the fruit to grow. In the garden and in our lives, God produces the end result in His timing. When we truly trust Him for the end result, our faith increases and the burden of the end result is removed from our shoulders and placed on the shoulders of our Savior. The enigma of Matthew 11:28-30 takes on a whole new light.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest, take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30).
Our responsibility is defined. Our yoke is defined. But the burden of ultimate responsibility rests on the shoulders of our Creator and not us, this makes our burden light. We must plant, or we must water, but we must let God give the increase. The fruit is sweeter and the taste is much richer. To God be the glory.