There’s no better time or place for pondering than the garden in the morning. Before the heat starts bearing down, while the cool damp air wafts the scent of fresh cilantro my way as I’m watering the herbs…ahhh, nothing compares! This morning I spent an hour or more just watering and cooing to my lush green tomato plants, and ridding the pathways of stray weeds. They love me! (the tomatoes, not the weeds!)
I saw the telltale signs of hornworm action on two of the tomato plants. Grrr. The hunt began. It always scares me how well those large green worms blend in on a tomato vine. The damage they do is very obvious–they eat the end leaves off of the tomato plants, leaving an empty nub–but the worm itself is good at “making like a vine” and camouflaging itself till your nose is inches away and you suddenly see the thing. Ugh.
Isn’t that the way it is with life? Sometimes you see the effects of sin in your life…perhaps cutting you off from bearing fruit for Christ, or having fruitful relationships with others. Sometimes you have to trace that sin down and deal with it. Maybe it’s plainer to others than it is to you. Whatever the case, if you let it go, it will destroy you and the consequences will spread to those around you…if it’s a hornworm, pluck it off and smash it; if it is a weed, uproot it and throw it in the burn pile before it takes over your life.
Gardening with children is a great way to teach discernment. Last week we were weeding the onions. We have a long row and a half of onions, and it is a wide row, so there are three onions across, then four, then three, alternating in a foot wide raised bed. Lots of training opportunities while weeding with kiddos. Onion tops are green, so are most weed tops. The good and the bad grow side by side, close comparison helps one to discern what to leave and what to pull.
Side by side comparison in real life is helpful as well. Whether it be in the garden, or when choosing the best Bible translation, there is no better way to gain discernment than comparing the good and the bad side by side for their differences.
In creation and in spiritual things, discernment is critical. Take wild edibles for instance. With wild edibles, poisonous plants and medicinal plants often look alike. Do you know how many campers have dined on what they thought was wild carrots, when in fact it was a poisonous look-alike, poison hemlock? Deadly mistake. Sometimes close inspection is necessary for survival. Whether it be physical or spiritual.
Another parallel to this consideration would be Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the tares. A tare in the field looks exactly like the wheat, but at harvest time, the wheat produces fruit, and tares do not. 2 Timothy 2:19 tells us that “the Lord knoweth them that are his”…We’re also told a few verses earlier, in 2 Timothy 2:15, that we’re to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Discernment is key if you are Christian living in today’s world. It’s easy to be confused by counterfeits.
Just some thoughts from my garden.
1 Thessalonians 5:21, “Prove all things, hold fast that which is good.”