Good morning. It is Monday, May 23, 2022.
I spent some time working in my yard on Sunday. It is my happy place. It always amazes me when I think about it. As a kid I hated working in the yard. It seemed like it was something we had to do every Sunday. I am sure that is not the case, but it was too often for my liking. My mom loved to work in her yard; still does. It is her happy place. She once said something like “I would rather spend 8 hours working in the yard than 1 hour cleaning the house.” I get it now mom!
I love planting and watering and nurturing. I love adding large rocks and stumps and metal and glass to the landscaping. Birdbaths and windchimes and birdfeeders.
I have a large water bucket outside my fence that I keep full of fresh water in the summertime for the deer and other wildlife. I love nature. God has touched me and taught me through nature. He provides for us through nature and speaks to us through nature. Our Creator God has given us these things for our enjoyment.
Job 12:7-10 tells us to “ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you; or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.” - ESV
If you were to walk around my yard you would see Dwarf Lilacs and Lavender, Rhododendrons and Azaleas, Rosemary and Lemon Grass, Yellow Teacup Roses and Cosmos. Hydrangeas and a Butterfly Bush, Hellebores, Tulips, purple Iris, and assorted Gladiolas. A tiny Dogwood, two Crepe Myrtles and a Curly Willow (a start off my mom’s Curly Willow that I have had for about 5 years. I put it in the ground 2 years ago and it is happy) Mom also gave me a Japanese Maple, a Red Leaf Flowering Plum, a Pussy Willow, A Chinese Ground Maple, coastal fern, and a start off her Hydrangea. You would also see many varieties of succulents and Columbine. An assortment of Snapdragons and ferns, Clematis, and several Coleus. Peonies and Daylilies, Jasmine and Honeysuckle and Wisteria. I have Begonias and a Mrs. Bradshaw. There is an Apricot Beauty Foxglove, Hollyhock, Calendula, Petunias, and Poppies. I have several varieties of Tiger Lilies and a variety of Super Enorma English Daisies and Rominette Bellis; tall decorative grasses, Salvia and several other flowers and plants that I have forgotten the names of.
I have always loved “old fashioned plants”…Morning Glory and Sweet Pea. Poppies and Daisies. Lilacs and Hollyhocks. Foxglove and Columbine. Bleeding Hearts and Hydrangea. And all, no matter how large, grew from a seed, (or bulb) so small that you could hold it in the palm of your hand.
Some seeds and bulbs are tiny; some larger, but all have a mission. To grow into the plant that God designed for them to grow into.
How can people look around them and not believe in a Creator? It saddens me. We can know from the complexity of a seed that a Creator exists.
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Romans 1:20 NIV
I also am intrigued by the way plants produce seed. Take my Hollyhock for example.
Any one plant will not live for very long…maybe two years, but they reseed constantly. I have had Hollyhock growing in planters that were placed too closely to the ‘mother plant.’ I have had birds and squirrels plant seeds. The birdseed around the birdfeeder will sprout and grow. Each seed growing into its own plant. But my favorite thing to do is collect their seed pods.
After a Hollyhock flower withers and falls off, there is a green pod left on the plant’s stalk. I allow the pods to turn brown and dry on the plant and then pick them off and store them over winter. In fact, I just planted seeds from a couple of years ago. We shall see how they turn out.
Inside each pod are dozens and dozens of tiny black seeds. You can get a dozen or more pods off a single plant each summer. Hundreds of seeds and each seed holds instructions on what to do once put in the proper environment.
When I think of seeds, I cannot help but think of a story that took place by a lake.
A crowd had gathered along the shoreline. The crowd was so large in fact the teacher got into a boat and sat in the boat at the water’s edge.
This teacher often used simple stories to illustrate the lesson, and today was no exception.
One such story went something like this. A farmer went out to plant his crop. “As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”
What did it all mean? The teacher gave an explanation.
The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown. Mark 4 NIV
My prayer is that the seed, God’s word, is sown in the good soil of our heart. That when we hear it, we accept it and then go on to produce a crop that is a hundred times bigger than the original!
In that same chapter, Mark 4, Jesus speaks of the parable of the growing seed as well as the parable of the mustard seed.
He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”
Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”
May we all carry out the mission God gave us. To grow into the person that God designed for us to grow into.
Pray that our witness and testimony is like the smallest of all seeds on earth. That once planted it grows and grows and becomes large!