My husband and I have been gardening for several years now. Each year, our garden expands, we become more knowledgeable, and our harvest is a little more prolific.
There are many benefits to having a farmers market in your own backyard: it’s easy to eat healthy and seasonal; there is nothing quite like a true “garden fresh salad;” and of course, it’s fun! But there is one surprising benefit I never imagined I’d discover.
God is in the Garden
There is a reason God originally placed humans in a garden–God was there! Aside from God’s actual presence in the Garden of Eden, a garden does nothing but speak of His glory and His Kingdom. There are life-lessons at every single stage. Every seed, plant, and clump of soil tells His Story.
One such storyteller is the bell pepper. For us, bell peppers have been somewhat tricky to grow. The time from seed to seedling and from seedling to plant is quite long in comparison to other vegetables. Bell peppers seem to need an abundance of light and water. They also struggle when transplanted from indoor to outdoor if the conditions aren’t just right. All this trouble and we’re lucky if we get one puny pepper out of all our plants!
This year, instead of using seeds, we tried something different. We started with healthy, established plants that were ready to be transplanted the day we brought them home. What a difference it makes when the plants have a healthy growth stage before making the switch to trying to be fruitful. Not only are our plants healthy, they are also producing!
Still, I’ve found that one pepper plant, though healthy, doesn’t produce a ton of fruit. I’ve only picked a few really good peppers off each plant. But the peppers I do pick are amazing, and each one holds a surprise.
The Kingdom of God is Like a Bell Pepper
Imagine you are a bell pepper plant. From the time you are born, you need lots of light and water in order to grow. (In the Bible, both light and water are used as symbols for God.) For the first half of your life, your sole purpose is to grow. Nothing else. Soak up as much water and light as you can!
The second half of your life, your purpose is to produce. You must be careful though, if you make the jump too quickly from your warm greenhouse to the harsh elements outside, you won’t survive. But if you take your time, grow strong first, get plenty of light and water, and transition when the time is right, you will be fruitful.
As you begin producing, dear Bell Pepper, keep a few things in mind. You are not a blackberry bush or a tomato plant. Your role is not to spread wide and produce hundreds of pieces of fruit, but rather, you job is to spend your life focusing all your energy into a few key areas. When you do, these areas of fruitfulness in your life will grow big and strong.
Now, perhaps like me, you think spending your whole life growing just a few peppers is not the mark of fruitfulness, but surprisingly it is! When you focus on a few key pieces of fruit in your life, you actually produce exponentially more. What you’ll find is that when these pieces are ripe, they have the potential to produce infinite fruit, because each and every pepper is filled with hundreds of seeds.
Seeds are Created when a Strong Plant Produces Good Fruit
God has designed you to be productive and fulfill a specific role in His Kingdom. Take a lesson from the bell pepper plant: spend plenty of time growing, and focus on the few key pieces of fruit that God wants to grow in your life. When you do, you will leave a legacy of countless disciples who continue to tell your story.
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