by Captain Terry Camsey –
I lack many skills, and one is a green thumb for gardening! In the United Kingdom, the term used is “green fingers.” I cannot recall having ever grown more than watercress sown on a damp cloth in a saucer. It’s not that I don’t appreciate trees and flowers. I do. But gardening frequently calls for more patience than I have, or time I am prepared to give.
If anything, I am a sower rather than a reaper. I cannot say that I am a waterer, either. That, too, I find boring.
I used to enjoy three of the seasons on the eastern seaboard of the United States and in the place of my birth… Spring, especially for its daffodils, bluebells and snowdrops. But, even though I appreciate the value of the fourth season (the one I don’t like as much) in nature’s life-cycle, it does seem to take an aw(e)fully long before the seed comes to fruition.
Of course, it is possible that I have planted bulbs upside down and that Australia has seen the fruit of my labor while wondering where it came from. Additionally, I confess, my wife rarely lets me loose in the garden because I cannot tell a weed from a flower!
There is a “law of the harvest,” too, which means that it is unrealistic to expect to plant a seed one day and see it flower the next. Even if it did, without the seasons, watering, pruning, etc., it would be a weedy looking thing.
When sowing seed, some can be wasted if it falls on the road and gets stepped on… or is eaten by birds… or falls on rocky ground and starts growing, but without enough water dries up… or falls among weeds which choke it… (Luke 8:5-8). I guess that is why we are urged by Paul in his letter to the Corinthian church to sow lots of seed:“A few seeds make a small harvest, but a lot of seeds make a big harvest.” (2 Corinthians 9:6 CEV)
I do love to sow lots of seed and receive many blessings when I see the lights go on in the eyes of those who are my mission field. I was blessed just this last week when I visited the East Hartford New Life Center (in the USA Eastern Territory) to work with the congregation there on plans for future growth. I was blessed, too, by an e-mail from an officer I was privileged to mentor in the United Kingdom. He has now been appointed Head of Church Growth and Planned Giving Ministries for that territory. Talk about “a lot of seeds”… that territory, which already has more than 800 corps, is now committed to planting another 500 over the next 20 years.
That’s a lot of seed and some may well get stepped on… be eaten by birds (the buzzards who are always around)… or fall on rocky ground and have a rocky start. Some may fall among weeds (those who would choke out any new initiative by the Army). But, in God’s providence, a big harvest is assured!
And here we are at Easter-time again. An opportunity to renew ourselves or, for some, to allow the seed of the Gospel to be sown perhaps for the first time. There is more than enough of that “seed” to go around, but it still needs sowers… those who will take it and scatter it, no matter how receptive or resistant the soil in their community… the “garden” God has chosen to give them.
Sown in the darkness or sown in the light,
Sown in our weakness or sown in our might,
Gathered in time or eternity,
Sure, ah! Sure, will the harvest be.
And that’s a promise!