Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“And Boaz said to her (Ruth), “I have been made fully aware of all you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and mother and the land of your birth and have come to a people unknown to you before.”
“A Fruit-Full Time”
What We Sow
“May you have a good sowing
And a gallant crop;
May your weeds never begin,
Your flowers never stop;
May your radishes be bright,
Your new potatoes succulent,
Your leeks all gentleness,
Your roses truculent.”
Marie de L. Welch
What type of seeds have I sown in my life?
“O the green things growing, the green things growing,
The faint sweet smell of the green things growing.”
Dinah Maria Mulock Craik
“Working in the garden … gives me a profound feeling of inner peace. Nothing here is in a hurry. There is no rush toward accomplishment, no blowing of trumpets. Here is the great mystery of life and growth. Everything is changing, growing, aiming at something, but silently, unboastfully, taking its time.”
Last fall, I had a young man come and plant lily bulbs in my front yard. While I had a few lily plants before, I love the beauty seen now in a wide variety of colors of blooming daylilies which are scattered along the walkway to our front door.
Before planting the lily bulbs, I took each one out of its package, checking to see what color each plant would be. However, because the bulbs all looked the same from the outside, I had no indication, other than what the paper wrapper said, that when the bulb finally blossomed, it would end up looking like or being the same color I was told it would be.
Gardening, from my perspective, always has an element of surprise associated with it, especially when you think about the seeds that are sown. One never knows exactly what will come up. You hope you know. You think you know. But in the end, there could be some marigold seeds mixed in with the snapdragon seeds, that is unless you are a seed expert, which I am not.
Sometimes, predicting the outcome of what we sow in our own lives, can be as difficult as predicting the outcome in a garden. I’ve known individuals who have worked hard and planted well, and yet in the end, the results were not what one might think. Take Job for example. From the Bible story in the Old Testament, it appears Job did everything right. He planted well. He was a good and upright man, the Bible tells us, yet things didn’t go well for Job. You might conclude, after reading a little in the book of Job, that he lost everything. But here’s an often overlooked point in the story. Just because Job lived a “good” life and planted “good” seed, things still went bad. However, this fact didn’t turn Job into something he wasn’t. Job continued planting seeds of love, encouragement and hope his entire life. When you opened the package of Job’s heart, the seeds he cultivated were germinated by heavenly qualities even during the tough times in his life.
This lesson from Job’s life applies directly to what we find in the book of Ruth and the life she chose to live.
Boaz told Ruth he had heard about her behavior. Ruth didn’t tell him. Evidently, everybody else had. Everyone in Bethlehem watched what kind of seeds Ruth planted. They heard from Naomi about the seeds of kindness Ruth planted in Naomi’s home. They saw the seeds of diligence she planted as she worked from morning to night in Boaz’s field.
And this is where the story of Ruth, Job, and you and me gets interesting. Many times we think if we sow good, that we will always reap good. Often this is true. But on other occasions, you may find yourself sowing good and reaping heartache. However, as Ruth, Job and so many other Biblical stories tell us, as God’s children, we plant good seed, not because a Boaz will come along and reward us in the end, but because when heaven’s in our hearts, the seeds we plant will be the seeds from our Father – reflecting those qualities that mirror His image of love, grace and mercy. We don’t just plant good so we can get something in return; we plant from the seedlings growing in heaven’s garden which have taken root in the fertile soil of our lives.
Thankfully, as we will note tomorrow in the case of Ruth, the beauty she planted in every life she touched, came back to her in a fruitful harvest she never could have imagined. As Author Colin Semper eloquently penned, “Lord, all that we are, comes from You … all our possibilities belong to us only because they come directly from You. Help us not to belittle these gifts of yours, not to bury them, (but to scatter them like seeds, planting them in everyone we meet), using them to make you better known to the people of the world.”
“Lord, give me grace to follow Your example. Create in me the desire and will to put the needs of others before my own. Take me and all I have; do with me and all I have; do with me whatever You will; send me wherever You will; use me as You will. I surrender myself and all I possess absolutely and entirely, unconditionally and for ever to Your control.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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