Harvesting Hard Work
Gardening is a fun hobby…at times. We have been gardening for three years, and we have noticed three phases of gardening throughout the year that we would like to share with you. Yes, the phases are glib in nature, but hey they make sense 😉
The beginning of the gardening year (March/April for Michigan, there is no beginning for you hardcore folks that have greenhouses inside your home!) is the second most exciting phase of gardening. You wake up from hibernating through a long winter to a plot that hopefully doesn’t have too many weeds. This is the time you get to choose what to plant, how to plant it, and how to lay out your plot. If you mulched your plot at the end of last year, then there are fewer if any weeds to pull up. Planting can be as easy as dropping seeds in a rich dark soil to popping starter plants out of their plastic homes into the real deal. Perhaps the first few days you go back to see if any seedlings have popped up, and you get excited that the lettuce and other leafy greens are the first to sprout. The beginning is definitely a fun phase.
The middle phase is the most important yet the most boring/stressful/miserable/requires-so-much-perseverance-that-you-wonder-where-that-mentality-was-during-classes phase of gardening. This is where the hard work comes in with full force. You have to constantly pull weeds. You need to guide your vines up poles or other fixtures. You have to fight off bugs and pests that take your life blood away, while you try to get rid of them from eating the leaves of your potato plants. It is also during the long summer months, when you would rather be on the beach you are in the garden working away. The sun bears down on you with its rays draining you of much needed energy. Between vacations, kids (if applicable), and work, this is where you may question why you even got into gardening in the first place.
Ha, it is not the end of the blog post, just the gardening season! This is the most fun part. This is where you get to reap the fruits of your labor. Those tomato plants that you had to guide through cages and poles now provide juicy red (and green and purple) fruits that you can make salsas and sauce with. Beans are plucked, herbs are dried, peppers are picked, and leafy greens become your entrée for dinners. All the produce starts rolling in, overwhelming your kitchen and consuming your time as you try to find ways to preserve and enjoy the bounty. For us, in these moments, we momentarily forget the weeding, the bug bites, and the hard work. This is where the hard work has paid off! It is for this moment that the preparation, maintenance, and care of earlier bears fruit. Finally, you can bask in the labors of your hard work!
Gardening is merely one example where you are able to harvest your hard work.
You may have just started the school year with much gusto and excitement. You’ve had the summer off of school (unless you took summer classes) and you are re-energized to take over your classes. But that dream may fade away rather quickly as the hard work (the “middle”) sets in. The daily tests, quizzes, and walks to class in the rain become your weeds and bugs. But the hours of studying and asking questions pay off with scores on your finals. You are harvesting your hard work!
You may have just started a new job with an enthusiasm never seen before. Finally, you get paid! Then as time goes by the smile fades and business becomes normal as you wander through the “usual.” But you stick with it, your boss recognizes it, and you receive a raise and/or promotion! Congratulations, you are harvesting your hard work!
You may have just become a born-again (or newborn) Christian and you are excited to share your faith and learn even more about the Gospel. But then, like the journey of Pilgrim’s Progress, you encounter setbacks and discouragement along the way. The Bible tells us that in the world we will have many trials, but we should be encouraged, because God has overcome the world (John 16:33). What is the harvest of working in God’s garden? You see your friends and enemies come to know the truth! Heaven is near, and the joy of having Jesus walk right beside you as you face the daily challenge called life eases the burden. In those moments, when you realize where Jesus is taking you (to His home), and when you can see the joy on the faces of those recently converted that the difficulties of the Christian life melt away. The harvest follows the hard work.
As another new beginning occurs, whether in your student life, professional life, or spiritual life, know that harvesting the fruits of your labor makes the hard work fade into the background. Keep the end goal in sight friends! Do not lose hope now. Yes, the tasks get cumbersome, but the rewards far exceed them! We will not be stuck on this Earth forever. The day is coming when sickness will be destroyed, sin will be gone, and a new heaven and earth will make the pain of this life but a distant memory. Until that time comes, there is much work to do. Much hard work. Let us show the love of Jesus to others who have yet to experience the awe of His sacrifice and give everyone a chance to choose eternal life. Then we can take part in the ultimate harvest.