By John & Jessie Flowers
Gardening is a great idea. So last spring, we put feet to a great idea and decided to start a backyard garden. We spent a full day shopping, gathering all the supplies, and digging in the dirt. We prepared the soil and planted tomatoes, strawberries, cucumbers, and more. It was a beautiful little project. We even taught our daughter as we went about the importance of
gardening. Grandparents joined in as we planted. It was lovely family fun.
We planted in May. Fast forward two months and you’ll find this.
A very pregnant, very nauseous wife.
A very tired husband due to the previously stated fact.
A very enthusiastic, yet unaware three year old.
And a very neglected, mosquito ridden, and rabbit infested garden.
Fast forward to harvest time. I’m sure you can guess what happened. Very little fruit. Most of which was inedible. Even the fruit we saw grow from a distance, we neglected. It was eaten by the local feisty rabbit family or fell from the vine to rot.
Annwen Stone’s last blog about WE/ME describes the journey of taking what you’re hearing from Abba and submitting it to authority for the sake of bearing fruit. We are called to bear fruit as followers of Christ. She gives personal testimony of the journey of grit that it takes to walk out what Abba says to us. It is the consistent and persistent walking out of practical action steps that lead us to bear fruit.
We all want fruit that remains. It’s a great idea. But what are we actually doing?
Our great garden idea died in the land of “great ideas that aren’t followed up by consistent action”. Looking back, what would we do differently now?
● Count the cost before beginning.
● Go outside in the garden daily. (Not much can be done from the window)
● Water the plants.
● Fence out the rabbits.
● Weed the beds.
● Pick the fruit.
In John 15, Jesus states: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
There are many great ideas in scripture that are meant to be practical realities in our lives. This is one of them. The fruit we are to bear requires something of us. Chiefly, surrender to the hand of the gardener. In all of this, we need Him. We operate fully in His immense grace, but we also
have to apply our faith (Eph 2:8). As we hear His voice, He calls us into action. The fruit only comes when we not only hear, but also act. And follow through consistently until there’s fruit.
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
So what can this practically look like in terms of friendship with God?
● Count the cost before beginning.
● Hear from Abba. (He is still a gardener scattering seeds. Mark 4:3-20)
● Share what you’re hearing with your authorities and community.
● Write down the practical action steps to do what He’s saying.
● Do it.
● Acknowledge Him. We can do nothing apart from Him. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
● Revisit the plan with accountability.
● Don’t allow distractions, laziness, comfort, or fear to steal your fruit.
● Harvest the fruit in due time: Let your testimony transform you and others.
Please let’s all learn from our backyard mistakes. The gardens of our lives are meant to bear great fruit that remains, not just great ”ideas”. As Jesus challenged the Pharisees, it’s time to “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” (Matthew 3:8) Let’s not settle for a little bit of fruit
that isn’t at its full potential. The fruit of our lives is to be shared with the world to give them a taste of Eden and call them back home. The journey is well worth it, albeit costly.
What are we hearing Abba say?
Who are we submitting it to?
What are we practically and daily doing about it?
What’s going on in your garden?