There is Only So Much Man Can Do

Dec 21, 2020

Once I discovered my passion for herbs and gardening, I have never looked back!  For the past 23 years, I have been actively learning, practicing and living with a book (or computer screen) in one hand and a tool in the other. I am never bored or searching for something to do. If anything, I am constantly wishing that I had more time to do all of the things that fascinate me. There’s so much to do and discover!

People frequently ask me if I ever get tired of being as busy as we are with our gardens.  My honest answer is, “Yes, but…”  My body does get tired of working, but my mind never really ever gets tired of thinking about it.

A few years ago, I was having a discussion with my oldest son, and he asked me a very intriguing question. He said, “Mom, what’s your grind?” I had to ask him to explain to me what he meant by this. He said, “What is the one thing that you find yourself always thinking about? Whenever you have the opportunity to think about the things that you want to think about, what is it? What is your mind always grinding on and working through?”

His question stopped me in my tracks that day, and I have considered it many times since. I suppose each of us have a different answer to this question. Everyone is inspired and motivated by different things. One of the things that keeps me grinding away at gardening and herbalism is the mystery and wonder of it all. There is such a huge part of it that is just not humanly accomplishable.

We can create the perfect growing space, provide amendments and water and select the best varieties of seeds to grow. We can be excellent caretakers, but we have absolutely no control over the actual growth process of the plant itself. None! There is only so much that a person can do, and then we are at the end of our own ability. The rest is up to God. Gardening is hopeless without God.

The same is true about herbalism. The best herbalists and scientists can study the constituents and properties of herbs, but there is something about their synergy and ability to provide nutrition and healing that comes only from their Creator.

“God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree, which bears fruit yielding seed. It will be your food’” (Gen. 1:29). We can breed plants, clone and improve them, but herbs are a gift from God. When we come to the end of our best work, we are still helpless. There is only so much man can do.

On the day that Mary laid Jesus in the manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes, humanity found itself at this same helpless, hopeless crossroads. Mankind was in a fallen state, and no matter how much work was put into it, how much research was conducted, how many provisions were made or how many people tried to find a solution, the only hope for eternal redemption was going to have to come from God. God provided because there is only so much that man can do.

But God, out of His infinite love towards us sent His only begotten Son to be born as a baby, live as a man and die as our sacrifice. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

This Christmas season, I pray that you will find yourself in the wonderful place of realizing your limitations. I hope that you get to experience being at the end of yourself and understanding that there is only so much you can do. When you reach this place, then God is able to demonstrate for you His amazing works.

In this life, your body may grow tired, but your mind can always grind away in wonder of Him. Your life can be transformed, and you can eternally praise His holy name.

Thanks be to God that man can only do so much!