“See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” James 5:7-8
With gardening season in full swing and the task of watering, weeding, and waiting for the fruit of the plants in the ground to come forth, these verses above took on a whole new meaning to me as I read them. The relationship between my gardening centered tasks and the tasks needed for nurturing the the seeds God has set in my heart came even more together for me in my studying this morning. See what I mean:
“See how the farmer waits...” Waiting is a lot of what gardening is about. Yes the preliminary planting is a lot of work, but the majority of the summer I say, “I putter in the garden.” My time is put in a little here and a little there, but most of the time I just walk around the gardens, watching for things that need to be tended to and taking care of a little task here or there as needed. The job, if done regularly, is not difficult but it does require patience and the willingness to be watchful over the crops before me. So too is our job in tending our hearts. We need to be diligent and on the watch for those things that can come into our lives and corrupt our hearts. On a regular basis, lining your ways up with God's ways or “puttering” in the Word of God, is the best way to do that. It is not an enormous task to get into God's word each day, but if left for a long period of time it becomes an enormous task because of the overgrowth of what is not of God that needs to be dealt with.
“...for the precious fruit of the earth...” The fruit is the goal. Picking the fruit which comes from the seeds, and then grows into plants, which in turn then produce nourishing and delightful taste for us to partake in is, I believe, the most rewarding part of gardening. And each different type of seed produces its own type of fruit. Bringing the many tastes of these fruits together in the kitchen brings about incredible meals to eat and aromas to tantalize those who by chance get a whiff of the smells produced by their harmonious combinations. We too should see the fruit as our end goal in waiting on those plants to produce. Our job is not to be the chef who takes those fruits into the kitchen, chops them, cooks them, and combines them into wonderful dishes. No, that is God's job. Our job is to tend the fruit in our hearts which then can then be used by God in harmony to bring forth tastes and smells from our lives that leave those without these fruits desiring what we have and they don't have in their own hearts.
“...waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain.” Even the water, the main sustenance for any plant, is waited on. In my gardening, a few weeks after the plants have been put in the ground I let them get a little dry – I hold off watering them a day when they need it. Why do I do this? Because I know the plant's roots will then dig down deeper to find the water it needs and establish itself into the soil better if I do this. God does the same thing with us. There are times in each of our lives when the methods we have used to draw from the well of God's life giving water, His Living Water, need to be turned off to make us dig a bit deeper. It is not a cruel thing that God does in stopping the flow, but rather it is His way of grounding us better in Him, making those truths in our hearts more established, and giving us roots that will hold us better as difficult circumstances come our way.
“You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” The banquet where the final feast and all of our fruits will be thoroughly enjoyed will not come until our Savior returns. These plants we are watching over may produce some early fruit which God uses for His purposes here on this earth, but the main purpose of those plants we are maintaining have purposes we have yet to realize. We cannot grow impatient in the process of watching over these plants and doing all we can to maintain their healthy growth. The seeds God has planted in each of our lives will bring forth fruit which will be used in dishes that will delight us beyond what we can imagine. Be patient therefore if you do not see any fruit today. If you are waiting on God, and tending your heart on a regular basis by staying close to Him and keeping in His word, then the fruit will come in the season it is being prepared for and it will come in abundance.