2020 Religion Column Art

6) I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7) So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8) The one who plants and the one who waters have a common purpose, and each will receive wages according to the labor of each.

For the first time in at least 20 years I have a garden. The garden is based on potted plants, but I am growing two varieties of tomatoes and some herbs on the back porch. On the front steps I have six potted flowers.

What Paul writes is true. I planted, and I am watering, but all growth comes from God. I have tomatoes. I have herbs I am using in the kitchen. The flowers out front make the humble house I live in look alive and loved. But I am not ‘doing’ anything to make the plants grow or thrive or produce fruit. That is all God’s hand.

I guess the point I am trying to make is this: it is sufficient on my part to accept God’s gift of growth and delight in the fruit and blossoms. I and We live in a world that demands we all must be productive, we must all pick ourselves up by our own bootstraps, we must make our own way in the world, we must be self-sufficient, we must claim everything we see as ours and then guard so no one else can have it. That way of thinking and acting pushes the power and grace of God’s hand out of the picture and we insert ourselves as if we had any real power to make anything grow.

Gardening I am finding is a necessary reminder in my spiritual journey that I am not in charge. The miracle of growth is beyond my capabilities. I need to remember, and with thanksgiving, acknowledge God is in control and God is looking out for me and you. The tomatoes will produce enough to share. The herbs will grow enough to last through the winter. The flowers add beauty to all who behold them as they pass by the house.

I am thankful for God’s growth in my little patio garden. And if God is watching over plants I can confess God is watching over me as well! All my growth comes from God’s graciousness too.

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