The Jeremiah Garden, June 2023
The garden has always been a place of wonder for me. I love the sound of the wind and the birds, the bees and the rustle of a lizard scurrying away. The colors are a delight to behold throughout the growing season. Right now, the Jeremiah Garden here at the ranch is a profusion of green. Green leaves, green tomatoes, green melons and flower buds. But that will change as things continue to grow and the garden will burst with reds and yellows, orange, pink, purple and other colors. The beauty and wonder will grow as the summer progresses.
Children can learn so much in a garden, and learning the delights of growing can start early in life. During sessions at CVYR it is a joy to hear children laughing as they explore, to see them determinedly pulling stubborn weeds, or concentrating on carefully placing seeds in a row. Often there are one or two children with spades digging holes gingering and picking out the plumpest worms to use for fishing. They all love to pull carrots to feed the animals. Girls pick flowers to take to their mothers, and kids will pick lettuce, cabbage, eggplant, or whatever is ripe, to take home to add to the dinner table.
The garden at CVYR has great potential for the kids we minister to and beyond. It is a place where possibilities are coming to fruition. We have been working on making the Jeremiah Garden reach that potential. There is no lack of fertilizer here at CVYR, thanks to the horses and the petting zoo. But all that manure isn’t usable in its raw form, so compost piles have been formed to transform the manure into rich, life-giving soil for the plants. And thanks to a newly donated tractor, the job of working a compost pile just got so much easier! Instead of an excess of animal waste to deal with, now we have a bounty of beautiful compost to apply to the vegetables in the garden as well as all the other plants on the ranch.
That compost pile has spiritual application, too. It’s much like the story of what God does through his Holy Spirit working in us. When we come to Christ, we bring with us a pile of our foul, worthless sin and self. But through the work of His Spirit sanctifying us, he turns it into the material that will bring the bountiful fruits of His kingdom into a lost and dying world.
The most amazing part of planting a garden is the transition from death to life. As spring warms the air it is time for a major overhaul of the garden. All the old, dead branches, stems and other debris are cut, pulled, and dug out, making room for new life. Soil is amended with compost that has decomposed over the winter and the planting beds are tidied and looking clean and bare. Then the seed is planted. These tiny, dry, dead things are put in the soil and watered and the sun shines on it. And shortly after, sometimes one or two days and sometimes a month or more, that dead seed sprouts and starts growing, and it grows and blossoms and produces fruit- sometimes as small as a nutritious blueberry, and sometimes a 25-pound juicy watermelon. What an astounding feat. What a miracle!
If you care to learn another lesson from the garden let’s acknowledge that a God who can do that from a tiny, dead seed can most certainly take our puny efforts, our minuscule faith, our unimpressive skills, and He can do mighty things for His kingdom through them. As I look at the carrots in the garden today, I remember the tiny, dry slivers of the carrot seeds that I put in the ground in early spring. Now the carrot greens overflow the vegetable box to a height of 15+ inches and the carrots in the soil are plump, bright orange, and bursting with nutrients. If left in the soil each carrot will produce hundreds more carrot seeds. If pulled now, the horses (except Indy, that’s a story for another time), the goats and alpacas will eagerly devour these amazing works of God. When we are willing to trust God and obey Him, to soak in His word and live by it, we too can be used to bring truth to a world that is hungry for the knowledge of God.
So how about it? Will you place the tiny, dead seeds of your life into God’s hands and allow him to grow you and produce fruit in you that will nourish others and bring glory to the God who loves you?