My son has planted a vegetable garden. He begged to do it, but I resisted the idea after my own failed attempt at cherry tomatoes years ago.
I remember it like it was yesterday. I planted the cherry tomato seeds, and lovingly cultivated each sprout. Tenderly, I transplanted the sprouts to their own pots — 56 pots, to be exact. I watered them and fed them Miracle Grow and prayed over them and made sure they had a nice spot in the sun. As they grew, I tied them to stakes so they wouldn’t fall over. I read gardening books and consulted an expert gardener — my dad.
Fifty-six plants grew tall and strong and green. My mouth watered as I thought of all the delicious salads my family and friends would enjoy. I pictured myself smiling, blushing modestly at their lavish praises.
“Yes, yes, I grew them myself.”
“Oh, it was nothing.”
“Award-winning? No. I didn’t enter them in any contests.”
These scenes played again and again in my mind as I waited patiently for my harvest. And I waited.
Finally, it came. The full harvest.
One tiny tomato.
Yes, you read correctly. One stinkin’, measly little tomato, from fifty-six pots.
All that work.
All those prayers.
All that practiced modesty.
Mark had helped some, so I decided to split the tomato with him. I was all ready to slice it, knife in hand, when he had to comment.
“That’s all you got?”
Then he laughed and laughed. And laughed.
Wrong thing to do. I picked up that tomato and popped the whole thing in my mouth. He didn’t get a bit of it.
He laughed some more.
So now, friends, you understand my resistance when my son asked if he could plant a vegetable garden. But I finally relented, as long as FJ promised to take care of the whole thing himself. He had to water. He had to fertilize. He had to pull weeds.
I washed my hands of the entire project.
Now, in my back yard, we have big beef-eater tomatoes, banana peppers, squash, basil, cilantro, mint, watermelons, and cantaloupe. There has already been a harvest. And I’m trying very hard not to be jealous of a nine-year-old.
One week after the young plants were placed in the ground, my husband decided to help. Well, encourage is a better word. He bought two watermelons at the store, and late that night, he placed them in the garden on top of the watermelon vines.
The next morning, he said, “Son, you need to go check on your plants. I think I saw some weeds.”
A few minutes later, we heard an ear-piercing scream from the vicinity of the garden which would cause a cougar to cringe. A moment later, the door slammed open. “Mom, Dad! Come quick! It’s a miracle!”
Sure enough, his garden had produced two fat, juicy watermelons. They were delicious. FJ wasn’t fooled, but he played along nicely, and we all had a good laugh. So far, he’s proving to be a much better gardener than his mother.
Sometimes, we work and work and do everything right, and we don’t get the results we think we deserve. When that happens, it’s easy to just give up. But when we give up, we miss out on the blessings God may have in store for us later.
Other times, we put forth minimal effort, and God blesses us with an abundant harvest. As I watched my son rejoice over the “miracle” of his watermelons, I was impressed. Not once did he brag about being a great gardener. He knew he didn’t deserve the credit. He just smiled and enjoyed the bounty.
Next time things don’t go exactly as planned, I’m going to remember about my tomatoes and my son’s watermelons. I’ll try be grateful for the blessings when they come. And when the harvest seems sparse, I’ll be grateful anyway, for the lessons learned along the way.
“So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow,” 1 Corinthians 3:7.