Most of us know the benefits of growing our own food. It lowers our food cost, allows food to ripen on the vine and thus yields more nutrient-dense foods, cuts shipping costs, allows us to become more self-sustainable, and lessens our reliance on the commercial food system. All of this provides valuable peace of mind.
All of the above are reasons to grow our own food. Together they are powerful enough incentive that I believe every family should experience growing at least one thing on their own at home.
But there is another reason we should grow our own food — the spiritual benefit. Hold with me for a moment before you think I've gone off the deep end. I am a Christian, I believe the entire Bible is God's truth, and I believe Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins so that I may have everlasting life if I believe.
I also believe God created the earth and everything in it. When He placed Adam and Eve in the world, He placed them in a garden. They named all of the plants together. He told them to eat of them but one, and gave them charge over the garden.
I'm reminded of all that God created when I'm outside, with the rush of air over my skin, the warmth of the sun, the chill of the rain, the sharp jut of mountains against the sky. All of these wonders came to be by His word. It leaves me in awe.
This awe is dulled when I'm indoors, surrounded by machines and things made of man's hand. I just seem to get too caught up in my to-do list and the noise of the world to pay as close as attention to the wonders God is still working under my very nose.
When I'm outdoors in the garden, my attention is swayed to God's handiwork instead of my own. I was pruning our blueberry bushes a few weekends ago and I recalled how Jesus spoke of pruning the branches that don't produce fruit. There are areas in my life that could use a pruning. How about you?
While we're still too cold for planting seeds outdoors, I went through and pulled up some weeds, readying the area around our blueberries for a new layer of fertilizer and mulch. It's one thing to read the parables and verses, but when you're outside with your hands in the dirt and weeds, they take on a new meaning.
And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!' The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?' “But he said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them.‘ Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.” –Matthew 13:28-30
While we don't grow wheat, I do let some of our weeds grow until our lettuce is large enough to thin before pulling them out, so I don't rip out the fragile new leaves and roots of my lettuce. When I look at the evil in the world, I'm reminded that at the proper time God will sift through the people, saving those who are His. It makes me pray for those who don't know Him yet — that they will find Him — and that those who are His already will stand strong.
I'm looking forward to spring planting in more ways than one. Do you feel closer to God while in the garden?
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