Harvest His Blessings: Part 1

I’m very excited about this series of devotions I’m starting this week, chronicling the mid-week VBS at our church.  Normally, I spend my summer in the throes of theatrics producing a big family theatre stage show.  However, we took the summer off from such ventures, and I felt I had the time to lend a hand with the VBS alongside my husband and daughter who regularly work in the children’s ministry.

I was thrilled with the ministry plan to use some of our unique talent at church and build a weekly program around the planting, tending, and harvesting of a garden on our church grounds.

Jeanette (whom you shall meet later this summer in a post all her own) is an expert gardener specializing in flowers for all occasions – grown by her own hands!  Her command of the soil and the flora it produces make her the go-to-person among us for all things green and growing.

The task was to illustrate Galatians 5:22:

“But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, 
faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.”
Each week we’d highlight a different fruit through Bible teaching and observations in the garden.  Kids were separated into different age groups and rotate “stations” each week – one of which is the garden.
I remembered a favorite read, “The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady” in which our young lady, Edith Holden, maintained a stunning record of the  glories of God in nature found in her garden and surrounding country.  Through prose, poetry, verse, and watercolor drawings, her attention to detail was a celebration of the miracle of life in all the brilliant color and variety of God’s infinite imaginings.
To that end – I suggested the kids keep a journal, too, recording their weekly observations and encouraging reflection time to write down the things they learned about the character of God through their gardening experience.  What a bounty they have to draw from!
My part in the whole thing is to capture the gardening experience on film, blog about it, and create an end of program power-point presentation.  The power-point presentation will be a challenge as it will be the very first power-point I’ve ever done!
So, first – to the garden . . . 
. . . where every flower has the potential to bear fruit!  We gather the tools necessary to do the job . . .
. . . shovels to dig deep into the soil and make a place for our sprouts.  
How necessary this is when first we come to faith to open the soil of God’s Word – chock full of spiritual nutrients – and DIG DEEP within, thereby planting our “sprout of faith”.  
Water liberally with prayer, and we have a good start!
After our introductory week of planting, we returned for our second week to move into the realm of observation and recording.  Rulers were disseminated and the measuring process commenced!  What is the measure we use to chart our spiritual growth?  
In the garden, change must be apparent each week and the ruler will tell us the truth of the matter.  Some change was immediately discerned – WEEDS had begun to sprout.  
Praise the Lord for His mighty hand that reaches down to lovingly pluck the weeds from our life that the nutrients of His Word not be choked from our root system.  
Weeds steal, kill, and destroy.  Following the Master Gardener’s example, many hands made light work plucking weeds from the soil.  What a beautiful picture of how the Body of Christ can minister one to another in this way – weeding our own soil, and through ministry, lovingly weeding one another – otherwise, growth will be impeded. 
If there is no growth, fruit will not be produced.  There could be many reasons for this beyond weeds.  Perhaps there were attacks that ate away at leaf and flower! 
This was observed in our green bean patch by a couple of concerned gardeners who saw their plants de-leafed due to villain rabbits in the night!  A decision was made to apply defensive measures to avert another attack.  Do we wait to be attacked by the enemy before we apply defensive measures?  Consider the Armor of God in Ephesians 6 – all defensive in nature, but for the sword which is the Word of God.  We must plant ourselves in God’s garden armed at the outset against villains who can eat away the foliage of God’s glory in our lives til we bear no fruit.

Rabbit villains were not the only dangers in the garden.  BUGS!  Beetles, in fact!

What trials they bring to the garden!  But, are they good bugs or bad bugs?  Discernment in garden bugs is wanting at all times.  Some “buggy” trials come into our lives to fertilize us and make us stronger towards growth and fruitfulness.  Trials can be the bugs of our lives, but James 1 encourages us to not fear them all – but welcome them that they may test our faith and strengthen us for His good.  But – you’ve got to know your bugs!

The particular bug observed in this case was NOT a good bug.  Discerning this, Miss Jeanette gave us all a lesson in organic gardening: 

Kill the bug ON the leaf of the plant it was eating and LEAVE it there – as a sign to others of like kind to beware – a Master Gardener protects and defends this sprout!  
Sometimes, the trials we face are for the purposes of God intervening and making us strong to conquer them, wearing the evidence of the battle as a testimony of His Hand to triumph!  Battle scars are not always attractive, but this eventually becomes insignificant in the face of the abundant fruit that WILL come to pass in its due season because the buggy trial did not succeed – but was turned into a banner deterrent should other bugs attempt an attack.
I just love that!
Ah!  The joy of fruit produced!  And already in our garden we are celebrating a first fruits!  Two wee tomatoes are ripe for the picking. 
Miss Jeanette instructed us as to the protocol of the occasion – as the Bible teaches – first fruits belong to the Lord!  To commemorate and follow through this truth, our two wee tomatoes were duly harvested and presented to our Pastor Frank as he who feeds well his flock!

Joy and gladness fill the heart in the garden as we drink in the sweet aromas of our herb patch!  Here, rub your fingers on one of the leaves – parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme – bring your fingers to your nose and smell the goodness! 

Yes – we want the sweet aroma of Christ to rub off on our skin so that we can bring His scent into our lives in a deeper way – and thereby – into the lives of others.
It looks like we’re off to a great start in our summer garden.  Enough devotional fodder to keep the spirit feeding this week as we ponder the lessons the Lord teaches us through Creation.  Let’s take the time to stop, observe, reflect upon, and record the goodness of God in the garden!
Until next week . . .
I am sharing Part 1 of Harvest His Blessings with:
Trish’s L.A.C.E. Wednesday at Lily-Rose Cottage
Good Morning Girl’s Women in the Word Wednesday
Laura’s Brag on God Friday at Behold Glory
Charlotte & Ginger on Spiritual Sundays

NOTE:  All this great gardening and growth in God is happening at Calvary Chapel Vineland
 

Comments

  1. Oh Kathy – I am in tears reading this. I felt like a little girl participating in your VBS. What a great idea to teach about God and faith and trials through the backdrop of gardening. I was truly enraptured in my heart, as I listened to the lessons you brought forth – and they reached deep into the soil of my spirit. I so needed this tonight.

    Thank you for sharing – and for your investment in the lives of these children. I can’t wait to hear more…

    (P.S. I have NEVER done a power point presentation – so best of luck to you!!)

    GOD BLESS!

  2. Wow – so many good analogies and lessons. I have a copy of Elizabeth’s Holden’s Country Diary. Do we have identical book shelves?
    You may laugh, but allow me to say, “duh!” to the raised beds. We are in a rental: my gardening space is limited, the gophers are rampant, raised beds are too expensive to build. Until I saw the pool idea! That would solve all the issues: temporary, portable, practical, gopher proof (I assume you poked holes in the bottom, but they could be tiny holes), inexpensive…the possibilities are exciting. Thank you!

  3. Your pics really brought home the lessons the kids were learning. I could see it on their faces as you all planted seeds in their hearts through your VBS. Thanks for sharing this lovely post at Spiritual Sunday. And I love, love, love the photo in your blog header! Blessings!

  4. Hi Kathy,
    What a lovely way to teach children about God and nature.The photos are fabulous – it’s good to see children enjoying gardening.
    God Bless
    Barb from Australia

  5. awesome lessons through having fun. Thanks for sharing this. Hope you have a great weekend.

  6. I can’t even begin to express how much I love this! It’s a passion of mine that God’s people seek and encourage those within the local body with peculiar gifts and talents and set them creatively FREE to do “their thing” for the King.

    This is exactly the kind of “thing” I’m talking about. I love it. All praise to God for giving you the teacher’s eye and the creative spirit and your church for encouraging it.

    Just lovely!

  7. Wow I wish we lived near your V.B.S. I wish my kids were young enough to attend. I wish I were young enough to attend!! 😉 Excellent truths taught in the very best way… I can’t wait to see more!

    Blessings, Debbie

  8. A wonderful opportunity for a family to minister the Love of God’s creation to children. Applause.

  9. VBS is so much fun! How brilliant to teach the children to garden and grow things, and compare it to their own spiritual and personal growth! Also teaches responsibility, and reaping rewards for hard work! As a 4H club leader we had a community garden, and vegetable/harvest party, it was great. ” Head, hands, heart, health” So wonderful! Have fun!

  10. Beautiful lessons you are teaching your children. What a great example.
    Blessings,
    Charlotte

  11. This is a subject close to my heart. RB and I used to travel in the summers holding VBS ( up to 10 a summer) for churches unable to do it themselves. It was such fun and the girls were a big part of the program, too.

    These children will never forget the year Miss Kathy showed them Jesus as they gardened.

  12. Kathy, this is fabulous!
    It’s a joy to see the children getting involved with the garden, and learning from your spiritual insights.
    A great blessing indeed.
    Thank you for linking this to LACE, my friend.
    love in Jesus..Trish

I would love to hear from you--share your thoughts!

*

%d bloggers like this: