I’m planting my annual organic vegetable garden this week. I started a few things outdoors a few weeks ago but this week all my seedlings that were under the grow light are being transplanted out to the garden. It always amazes me how scrawny little seedlings will, in a few months, yield pounds of produce and gallons of salsa, IF timing and conditions are right.
My job is to discern the correct timing and conditions and then plant, water, and wait with expectation. I wait with faith and God does the rest. Now if timing wasn’t taken into account, my garden would surely die. If I had planted when the ground was still cold, or frost was coming then the harvest wouldn’t be plentiful.
I’m sometimes tempted to over water and fertilize in an attempt to speed things along but from experience and wisdom I know better. I must do only my part and then wait with expectation. Occasionally the yield is far more or different than I expected and on those years I love to share extra with friends and those in need.
One such harvest occurred about 15 years ago when my kids were tiny toddlers. Harvest Crusades with Greg Laurie was coming to Arco Arena in Sacramento and our church was offering an all day Saturday, New Believers Discipleship Training. The training was to prepare volunteers to be equipped to answer questions and pray with new believers who might accept Christ at Arco Arena’s Harvest Crusade event coming the following week. I felt called to do the training and getting a break from two demanding toddlers sounded wonderful so I was thrilled when my husband offered to take the kids for the entire Saturday so I could attend the training.
As I left the completed training with a stack of New Believer’s Bibles in my hand, I felt a little nervous excitement as I wondered if I would say the right things and remember what I had learned, in just a few days at the upcoming event. I called my husband to tell him I was done with the training and that he could pick me up. We agreed that he would pick me up in about a half an hour at Ashford Park, just up the street from the church.
When my husband got to the park to pick me up with the kids, he was surprised to see me talking and praying with a dirty, stinky, disheveled homeless man named John, under a tree by the railroad tracks that ran behind the park. I explained to my husband that I had just met John and that I had just learned that John’s wife had left him and John had lost his job and was homeless and without a vehicle. We ran up the street and got John a hot meal and brought it back to him at the park and we spent some time with John at the park before leaving him one of my New Believer’s Bibles.
Months later my husband took me out to a nice restaurant for a date night and I caught a glimpse of someone in the kitchen who looked like John. I asked the waitress if it was in fact, John working in the back. “You know him?” she asked incredulously. “Yes, would you please tell him his friends Carmel and Bob are here and say hi,” I asked.
Moments later John came running out to our table glowing with a smile I won’t ever forget. “I just started working here a few weeks ago,” he beamed. “My wife and I are back together, we’re going to church, and I even got a car!” he said, pointing proudly to an old junker out in the parking lot. The waitress just stared in disbelief and smiled.
Sometimes we don’t ever get such a beautiful gift of seeing firsthand just how the seeds we plant may germinate. Sometimes the harvest isn’t exactly as we planned or doesn’t look like what we anticipated. But with the right conditions and expectation, a beautiful harvest is possible.
I did serve at that Harvest Crusade. But to be honest, my experience with John was the most memorable. I learned to take a leap of faith, to take the tools I have been given, to seize the opportunity, and that if I plant obediently, God does the rest and it might not look exactly as I had planned but that’s perfectly okay.
What seeds can you sow today, with expectation, knowing that God will complete the work you began on your Anointed Journey?