This is the time of year when many gardeners are wearing down. The heat has taken the starch right out of them. They are tired of fighting squash bugs, trying to give away overgrown zucchini, pulling weeds and paying high water bills. Their gardens are on the decline. Summer is coming to an end.
However, in Oklahoma, fall gardening season is just beginning. When I mention this to people, the typical response is usually something like, “I didn’t even know that people gardened during the fall in Oklahoma.” Yes, friends, gardening continues on! (Here’s some help from Oklahoma State University with your fall gardening.)
As much as I love tomatoes, peppers, okra and corn, fall gardening is my favorite! The weather is more favorable, pressure from pests and disease is not as demanding, and I love the crops. Seasonal eating is just so wonderful. As the temperatures cool down, fresh root crops such as carrots, beets and potatoes put the “comfort” in “comfort food.” When the air is crisp, there is nothing better than a warm pot of homemade soup straight from the garden.
The work that many are ready to give up on in mid-August actually inspires and energizes me. Don’t misunderstand, I get tired too, but the thought of not having fresh greens, root crops and delicious herbs is just not something that I want to forego. The work that God has given to me is delightful. It keeps my hands busy and our bellies full.
Have you ever had the opportunity to work along someone who dislikes what they are doing? The entire time that they work they are grumbling and complaining. On the flip side, try to think of a time when you accomplished a task side-by-side with someone who adopted the mindset of working cheerfully. It’s amazing how having the right attitude can affect the outcome of your work as well as the people around you.
In Prov. 31:13, King Lemuel is recalling some attributes of an “excellent woman” that his mother had told him about. One of the qualities was that she “works with her hands in delight.” Isn’t that interesting?
We have two adult sons who are both now married, but when they were younger, we would discuss qualities that would be noble to look for in a future wife. I can honestly say that I don’t ever remember telling them to look for someone who works with her hands in delight. I’m thankful that despite my shortcomings, they both married women who are delightfully hard workers and good homemakers.
The Bible has much to say about laziness even going so far as to say in 2 Thess. 3:10-12, “For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. Now we command and exhort such persons in the Lord Jesus Christ to work peacefully and eat their own bread.”
In Jer. 29: 4-6 we see, “This is what the Lord of armies, the God of Israel, says to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: ‘Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and father sons and daughters and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may give birth to sons and daughters; and grow in numbers there and do not decrease.”
In Ecclesiastes 10:18, we read, “Through extreme laziness the rafters sag, and through idleness the house leaks.”
God expects, even commands, that we be diligent workers, that we build and increase and do so with cheerfulness and the right attitude. There are many traps and snares to idleness that lay before us, such as television, cell phones and various forms of entertainment. But God calls us to not be lazy or to waste our time on such idle activities.
As you evaluate your home and pantry, won’t you consider joining me in the best gardening season of the year? Let me encourage you to not grow weary. Plant a few carrots and maybe some spinach. Honor God with your work ethic and delight in the work of your hands!