My eldest child developed an interest in gardening this year. With the help of my dad (her grandfather) and her dad (my husband), she cultivated a pretty impressive home garden with a bounty our whole family was able to enjoy throughout the summer and early into the fall. 

The experience taught my daughter that intentionality and the months-long commitment of watering, tending, and maintaining a garden was worth the hard work she put in. 

She was able to reap what she sowed. 

The process showed her the “fruit” that is produced from patience, persistence, perseverance, and passion. The “fruit” of her labor nourished her soul but fulfilled her in a way that left her craving more.  

That more has inspired her to begin preparations now for next year’s harvest season. And she’s not alone.

In North America, late fall is the best time to start planting what you hope to sow during the warmer months of the year. Casual or novice home-gardeners tend to wait until spring rolls around to start planning, gathering, and developing their gardens. But the more seasoned gardeners, know that good things take time. Maintenance. Attention. Care.

They make the most of the present as they wait in hopeful anticipation of the future. 

They aren’t afraid to get dirty. They lay the groundwork for fertile soil, ensuring seeds are planted in an environment where roots can deeply form, spread and sprout. 

They don’t allow dryness to parch their passion. They water the “seeds” with the sustenance they need. 

They don’t let the darkness take away their light. They find light and then shine it bright. 

They don’t shy away from the cold. They prepare for it and when fully “clothed” they weather it. 

As nature creeps into shorter days and longer nights, barrenness and dormancy find comfort in the cold and darkness, but don’t let that hold you back from planting right now. The land is primed for production…and the acreage is plentiful.

If I’m being honest, I’m overwhelmed by the amount of ground [available] to cover. I’m weary thinking of the work that needs (and should) be done. I’m dry and empty after months of being poured out and consumed. I’m tired and I’d rather rest in the coziness of my home than bundle up and venture into the cold. 

Yet I know that is exactly what the enemy wants – inactivity, laziness, loss of devotion, lack of production.

Then I look at my daughter, diligently working and joyfully creating a new “home” for her garden for the long winter months ahead. She doesn’t want to lose everything she worked so hard to gain. She knows if she neglects her garden or leaves it behind to fend for itself, the Midwestern weather conditions will destroy everything that was good and abundant. 

The garden is way too important to her. It has value, worth. She is treating it as such by protecting it from the brutal winter and sheltering her garden in a homemade “greenhouse” in our basement. In doing so, she chose to not take the easy way out. She walked in, bold and confident, knowing the work is worth the wait. 

Growth doesn’t happen overnight – it’s a process of imperfect progress – but seeds can grow and survive when deeply rooted in a soil designed to thrive. 

Not everything will see the light, though. In fact, a lot will stay buried underground, forever hidden in the darkness. It’s also easy to get sucked up or poured out by the false hope of what may be or what could become. Likewise, be cautious about the things that do make it to the surface – weeds can grow and spread like wildfire, choking life out of everything they encounter or deceptively disguising themselves as flowers of possibility and promise.

As the fall season comes to an end, may we be reminded that intentionality planted now reveals God’s faithfulness later. Seek wisdom as you distinguish the fruit you encounter (Matthew 7:15-20). Pay attention to the details and stay connected to the Vine (John 15:1-8). And friend, don’t just scatter those seeds, plant them. Water them. Care for them. 

When you plant with purpose, the seeds will have purpose – not just seeing the Light, but growing daily from the consistent exposure. 

“Then He told them many things in parables, saying, “Consider the sower who went out to sow. As he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them.Other seed fell on rocky ground where it didn’t have much soil, and it grew up quickly since the soil wasn’t deep.But when the sun came up, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it. Still other seed fell on good ground and produced fruit: some a hundred, some sixty, and some thirty times what was sown. Let anyone who has ears listen.”

“So listen to the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the Word about the kingdom and doesn’t understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the one sown along the path. And the one sown on rocky ground—this is one who hears the Word and immediately receives it with joy. But he has no root and is short-lived. When distress or persecution comes because of the Word, immediately he falls away. Now the one sown among the thorns—this is one who hears the Word, but the worries of this age and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the Word, and it becomes unfruitful.But the one sown on the good ground—this is one who hears and understands the Word, who does produce fruit and yields: some a hundred, some sixty, some thirty times what was sown.” 

Matthew 13:3-9, 18-23 (CSB)

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