Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Beneath The Shadow Of The Cross"1 (Lyrics)
1 Chronicles 28:8 – Now therefore in the sight of all Israel, the assembly of the Lord, and in the hearing of our God, observe and search out all the commandments of the Lord your God; that you may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children after you forever. (NRSV)
When my wife and I retired and returned to the home in which I grew up, one of the projects that I was determined to start was having a vegetable garden.
Throughout my working life, I have always had flower beds surrounding the houses in which we lived, but I never had the time or the space to grow vegetables. Thus, I was really anticipating the opportunity to plant a garden and grow my own food.
However, I realized that the earth had not been cultivated in over ten years, and it had reverted back to weeds. Although I did not expect to have much success for the first season, I still wanted to cultivate the soil and restore its strength with compost. So, I sowed the seeds with low expectations of any good harvest.
Yet by mid-summer, the garden had really taken off, and we were starting to enjoy the first vegetables of the season. Visitors also commented on how well the garden was growing.
For my part, I thought that it was mainly good fortune and good weather that had given us such success.
It wasn't until one day when I was looking out over the land that the real truth came to me. There had been a garden in that spot for over 50 years, starting first with my father in the middle sixties, then continuing with my mother after he passed away. During their lifetimes, they had worked hard to keep the soil built up so that it would yield a good crop in its season. Although the land had remained fallow for several years when there was no one to tend it, the strength was there in the earth, waiting to be awakened once again.
What kind of spiritual legacy are we going to leave for those who follow us? Year after year, we have to be dedicated to striving to build up the faith of those around us. We mustn't be discouraged when we fail to see immediate results. Sometimes, it takes years before the seeds that we plant will spring forth into new growth.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, grant us the strength to persevere in times of discouragement. Help us to understand and accept that Your will, not ours, is to be done. Amen.