Two things came to mind as I worked. First, I thought about the original garden. God had provided everything that was needed and the trees were "pleasant to the sight and good for food" according to Genesis 2:9. Water was provided by a river that flowed in and through the garden - no need for irrigation! But something happened. Out of all the trees in the garden there was only one that was forbidden; the tree bearing the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 3:6 says, "So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, (note that all the trees in the garden were good for food) that it was pleasant to the eyes, (note that all the trees in the garden were pleasant to the eyes) and a tree desirable to make one wise, (note that it was not billed as a wisdom tree, but as a tree that would make one aware of both good and evil) she took of its fruit and ate." In that moment life changed forever for Adam and Eve and consequently for all of humanity.
Life suddenly became difficult.
Genesis 3:17-19 says, "...Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you. And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground..."
Much can be said about this account in Genesis. Had it not been Eve and then Adam who took of the forbidden fruit, it would have been someone else. That desire to know what is unknown and to do what is forbidden is in the heart of each one of us. Just observe a small child for a few hours and you'll see it in action.
So there I was, toiling in the thorns and thistles, sweat pouring from my face and not enjoying myself very much. But the end result is still sustenance and even though it's terribly hard work, there is a satisfaction that comes as a result of our labor and toil that doesn't come any other way. And there is the anticipation of the fruit of our labor that is very sweet.
The second thing that came to mind was the fact that sowing naturally results in reaping. Throughout the Bible there are countless places that talk about sowing and reaping. The principle works in agriculture, in finances, in relationships, in spiritual vigor, in academic knowledge, in health, etc. We find examples of this principle just about everywhere we look.
I have a large portion of one garden bed that isn't planted. It is supposed to be filled with okra but instead it is filled with weeds! A two week trip at the time I should have been preparing the soil and sowing the seed, has resulted in no harvest to reap. In fact, not only is there no harvest, but the weeds have grown so thick that I dread tackling the task of removing them! It will be very hard work. But the end of the bed that did get planted with okra is lush and beautiful and I am about to begin reaping an abundant crop of the most delicious heirloom red okra you can ever imagine. Now I realize that there may be many readers who don't consider okra a delicacy, but I assure you that my family is waiting for it with bated breath. It's one of our favorites!
Sowing takes time. It requires sweat and toil to prepare the soil. Then it takes wisdom to know just how deep to plant the seeds, how far apart to place them, etc. Then it requires patience mixed with water to cause the seeds to sprout. In another bed I recently planted an heirloom variety of summer squash so I just went through this cycle once again. If I hadn't watered the bed well, most of it would not have sprouted. Since we haven't had rain in several weeks, watering is a continual task. At the same time we're experiencing drought in the physical, we're also experiencing it in the spiritual realm in this country. And we must get our water from God's word on an ongoing basis or we will not produce fruit in our lives.
You must also sow the right seed to get the right crop. I was just looking at my pepper plants today. Ones I thought were mixed colors of bell peppers look very much like they are yellow sweet banana peppers instead. Oh, no! What a disappointment! I purchased these plants from a store so apparently someone switched the labels around. Believe me, when you are looking for mixed colors of bell peppers, you are not a happy camper when yellow sweet banana peppers appear instead!
This principle works in many areas of life. We reap what we have sown. It's simple. If we sow discord we will reap discord. If we sow peace and joy, we will reap peace and joy. So if you are disappointed by what you're reaping, you may want to think back and remember what you have sown in the past.
Through our book Aloha is Forever that tells the story of losing our son, John, we have purposefully attempted to sow life. He is already seated in the heavenlies with Christ Jesus and using the story of his disappearance to impact the lives of others in a positive way is exactly what he would have wanted.
John 12:24 states it well:
"Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me, and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor."
It has been said that we can count the seeds in a piece of fruit, but we can never know how many pieces of fruit there are in one seed.