In the famous nursery rhyme Mary is asked, “How does your garden grow?” Like many of these old nursery rhymes, there are political or religious meanings buried beneath the words. Today I ask you not how, but “What does your garden grow?”
Recently I was doing some yard work. I’ve mentioned my father’s green thumb before. He has cultivated many kinds of fruit bearing trees for as long as I can remember. We had papayas for breakfast on a regular basis, chilled mango for snacks on hot summer days, more bananas that we could consume on our own. Currently he has a mango tree, two avocado trees, a lemon tree, an orange tree, a tangerine tree and a recently cut down guava tree.
With the guava my dad often made guava jam, sometimes he would use it to make a guava nectar drink, but that hasn’t happened in years. When the guava grew they would just drop to the ground, rot, fill the air with a strong scent and attract a ton of fruit flies. The decision was made that the guava were not being used any more, so it was best that we cut it down.
When the guava was used it was a good fruit. When it is allowed to fall and rot, it becomes more of a burden.
In the scriptures we are taught that we will recognize false prophets by the fruit they bear. Jesus specifically mentions good fruit and bad fruit. In verses 17-20 He says:
“So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”
Again I ask, what does your garden grow? There may be fruit, but what kind of fruit are growing? Sometimes what grows may seem like good fruit, but if the Lord does not harvest it, it falls, rots, and attracts bugs. Consider wealth. Is it wealth a bad thing? No. When the Lord harvests the fruit of wealth in your life it is used tremendously for His glory. Think of how the Kingdom has advanced because of the generosity of many wealthy brothers and sisters that have given to the gospel work. When wealth is just kept and not given to the Lord of harvest, it rots. The stench of greed fills the air. It attracts bugs, those who just want to feast on what you have to offer them. What about social causes? Should we neglect the poor, the needy, and the oppressed? May it never be! When these things are done with the gospel as it’s end, the Lord of harvest does good things. When it is done without any kingdom purpose it produces the pungent odor of hate, violence and hypocrisy.
When the Lord harvests these fruits in your life, when you open yourself up to His leading and direction, when you acknowledge that all authority and blessing have been given by Him, He transforms it to the fruit of the Spirit. Our wealth, our actions, our families and our very lives are transformed into “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
What does your garden grow? -jason