6 03 2008

Simple as it is, one of my wife’s favorite foods is peas.  I like the little green legumes as well, but have never found myself craving them.  I am an odd sort when it comes to eating my veggies, though.   No V8ish smack on the forehead for me.  Nope.  I’ll eat brussel sprouts, broccoli, okra and turnips. 

peasOne thing about all this is that it’s so much better fresh.  My dad always raised a garden that I was convinced was big enough to feed 3 counties and half the military.  I resented working in dad’s jolly green giant garden.  Shredding compost.  Hoeing corn.  Picking beans.  Then shucking, shelling and breaking. 

Now, I’ve always heard that a special miracle happens when a woman has a baby.  They say she forgets the pains of birth the moment she holds her baby for the first time.  I don’t know if that’s true about childbirth, but it is true about gardens.  When mom would prepare and serve those green beans with new red potatoes cooked with bacon and onions, I lost all ability to recount my previous grousing. 

Through it all I swore I’d never, ever have a garden myself.  I hated it.  Well, guess what.

I think my dad takes a bit of pride in my patch.  It may be small, but it produces pleanty of fresh produce for Barbara and me.  Though she didn’t come from a family of gardeners (except for the requisite tomato plants), she has come to crave those fresh from the good earth goodies. 

In a strange way, I’ve also come to love the feel of spring dirt under my nails and the smell of freshly broken soil.  All this from a confirmed hater of hoeing.  There always seems to be a point late in summer when I finally give it all back to the weeds figuring if they want it that bad, they can have it.

I once swore I’d never pastor a church, despite my calling.  I tried to compromise it as a calling simply to minister in whatever field I labored.  Those years were very instructional to me as a lay person.  But they were also canned peas.  I enjoyed watching the spiritual show so many times, but I kept myself at arms length.  I bulked when anything in church was changed, but I also kept it to myself.  Canned beans.  I agreed to teach a Sunday School class, and felt like that was vegetable gardensufficient to sate God’s desire for me.  Frozen sprouts.  Today, I long, pray and cry for my people to get up close and personal with God’s will for them, and I continue to despair when they settle for frozen carrots.  Don’t get me wrong, the pre-packaged stuff can be good.  But it’s so much better fresh.  God prepares a wonderful garden full of fresh, life-changing moments.  Yet we only taste it from a distance.  I wish that I’d learned this principle years ago.  The things of Christ are so much better when we get dirt under our nails, feel the hot sun on our backs, and then share the bounty of blessings with neighbors and friends.

Perhaps you’re a veggie hater, and this analogy escapes you.  I would just say that you’ll never know how good it is until you’ve tasted it fresh.  Don’t rely on your mom and dad’s religiosity or standing in the church.  Don’t observe the show from a distance.  Don’t stop giving at the offering plate.  Go all the way.  Let the rain fall all over you.  Get first hand, table fresh experience in Christ’s plan for you.  The harvest is bountiful, the workers are few, you know.

Eat your peas.




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