One of the things I most enjoy in life is gardening. Although I do enjoy my rose bushes, peonies, dahlias, lilies, hydrangeas and the plethora of house plants I have, including at least 8 – 10 African violets at any given time, the gardening the most feeds my soul is growing food. I grew up in a very small town in the middle of a rural area and growing a garden for food wasn’t just a hobby it was a way of life.
A couple of summers ago the daughter of a friend of mine was working on a bee conservation project. Part of the project was to find people who would grow certain plants in their yard that would attract bees. Of course, I was all over helping out. I received an oregano plant and one very lush raspberry bush. I do know from my history of gardening that raspberries spread over time and in order to keep them from taking over your yard you need to plant them in an enclosed bed. I just happened to have a 4 x 6 bed of dirt just waiting for the right plant.
Over the past 2 growing seasons I have watched the raspberries spread and produce delicious fruit. Every day when I get home from work I go out to my little berry patch and have my snack of fresh berries. A few weeks ago, I was actually struck with amazement at how every day when I get home there is a new fresh batch of yumminess waiting for me.
It was at that moment that I saw the comparison … aka parable … of the raspberry to the Grace of God. Every day His grace, mercy and love is new. It is abundant and fresh and waiting for us to taste it.
But what about winter? When the berries stop coming and the leaves of the plant shrivel and fall off? That is just another reminder of God’s unfailing and unending goodness.
Even though we see the season as cold and harsh those canes are still full of life. Insects that help plants grow crawl inside the canes and hibernate. When Spring comes and warms the earth, new life emerges from the canes and from the ground. Every year that the plants live through these hard seasons they come back stronger and full of more flowers and even more, sweeter fruit. My little 4 x 6 bed is overflowing with plants and they are even sprouting outside the walls that were meant to hold them in.
We all know that in the Bible, Jesus used parables to teach His followers. In the past (probably 8 years or so) Jesus has been teaching me with parables. It’s always such an amazing revelation, and I only realized lately that this is what was happening.
Unlike the fruit of the earth, God’s abundance cannot be contained… if we just plant it in our hearts, water it with His Word, and let the sunshine of His Light flood our lives.