I got a little surprise this morning when I looked at the date on my computer and realized that it was May 1st! For some reason I had it in my mind that it was tomorrow. I am not sure why, but I’ve always tended to see May as the official beginning of spring. So even though spring actually began over a month ago, to me… it starts today! Happy spring everyone… hum… it just started to pour outside… what’s wrong with this picture?
We sent the month of April off with a flurry of gardening activities over the weekend. On Saturday I dug a two foot square hole in the far back of our yard, exactly 20 feet from the pear tree we put in last summer. Then first thing on Sunday morning I immersed the bare root Santa Rosa Plum tree I bought online from Stark Brothers Nursery in a bucket of water in order to hydrate the roots for five to six hours.
The Santa Rosa Plum doesn’t seem to be available at local nurseries, so I had to resort to the online store that now holds many of the original patents from its original owner, Luther Burbank. It seems that Luther Burbank and the Stark brothers began an association around 1914 when he became interested in a new variety of apple that the Starks were developing that came to be known as the ‘Golden Delicious.’ “Just before his passing in 1926, Burbank selected the Stark Brothers to carry on his important work with more than 750 varieties.” (https://www.starkbros.com/about) And as the name implies, the Santa Rosa Plum was developed by Burbank at his farm in my home town of Santa Rosa California. So it will be nice to have a visible memory of the place we grew up in!
But back to the weekend’s activities… After running into town to get the pooch some dog food, we came home and I planted the tree, put up a fence around it to keep the night time visitors away and staked it up!
This morning as I opened the curtains in the dining room and excitedly looked out over the backyard, I began to think of all the similarities between the planting of that tree and our Christian walk of faith. Now granted, we are blessed with a sandy loam type of soil and so the digging of the hole wasn’t all that difficult except for the temperature that was pushing 100 degrees, the bugs that seem to come out of nowhere as I began to perspire and the rocks that I hit a few inches before the two foot depth mark. So needless to say it took a bit of effort to get the hole prepared!
Sunday turned out to be a little cooler with a bit of a breeze, but the bugs seemed to have multiplied over night! It took a little over an hour to get the tree in, the fence up (next time I’ll purchase new chicken wire instead of trying to untangle the old stuff I had on hand), staked and the ground water and fertilized! And even though the pesky little thought kept sneaking up in my mind saying I needed to stop and finish it tomorrow, I persevered through and finished the job!
Looking upon my completed work this morning reminded me of all the sweat, annoyances, distractions and hard work it took to get the tree properly set in the ground and protected with the fencing, and it made me feel good that I saw the job through! It also brought to mind the stories that Jesus told His followers about the contrasts between the man who built his house on the rocks verses the one who quickly built his on the sand (See Matthew 7:24-27), and the other parable concerning the sower and the results of his efforts in direct proportion to type of soil on which the seed fell (See Mark 4:1-9).
In both stories we see that the man who endeavored to pursue his job with great effort, diligence, focus, wisdom and determination was rewarded. And as with the fellow who took the easy way out and built his home on the sand… well…“the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:27 KJV)
Like with my gardening efforts over the weekend, it takes time and lots of effort (in my case lots of sticky, bug biting sweat!), but the rewards are worth all the efforts! My ultimate plan is to eventually have four fruit trees across the backyard, and I know that it is going to take some work to get them in… and then to take care of them throughout the year. But not only am I committed to the tasks ahead, I also enjoy doing the work it takes to have healthy, productive trees in the yard!
The same can be said for my wife’s and my Christian walk. We committed to the effort to grow and bear fruit for the kingdom of God before we were married! And yeah, it has taken a lot of dedication and work along with some setbacks, annoying distractions and bugs (or in this case people… oophs… do I need to say more!) and regular times in the Word and in prayer, but the results have been wonderful! Would I do it again if I had the chance? Without a moment’s hesitation!
So there ya go! Think about it next time you hit a roadblock in your faith, trip and almost fall (like I did a few times yesterday!) and/or get bitten by those annoying bugs that seem to stick to your arms and buzz your eyes and ears… as you “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14 KJV)
Have a great week, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting to do when the bugs of life buzz around me?”