July devotion: How does your garden grow?

[Jesus said,] “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground,  and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.” (Mark 4:26-29)

Riley saladI planted a vegetable garden this year and I’m so proud of it. I started the seeds under lights in March and set out the seedlings in May.

Now that it’s summer, my vegetable garden is almost overflowing. I go out every day to tend it, watering and weeding, admiring the cucumbers, examining the zucchini, smelling the tomatoes and petting the parsley. Yes, I love my garden.

But for all my care and attention, I’m not the one who makes the garden grow. God does.

That’s the wonder of it. Through the miracles we mere human beings call light, water, earth and air, God is transforming the tiny dry seeds that I so hopefully put into their little pots last March into a bounty of beautiful, delicious, nutritious vegetables. All I have to do is tend the garden and harvest its riches, while God, through nature, does the rest.

Yes, God quietly brings forth abundance every day in our gardens and in our lives. Everything we have—our gardens, our food, our families, our money, our lives, everything—comes from our endlessly generous and loving God, who is always at work in our gardens, in our lives and all around us.

We can’t possibly pay God back for this unending generosity—but we can surely pay it forward. I plan to share what God has done in my vegetable garden not only with my family and friends, but also with the food pantry my congregation supports.

What will you do with what God has done in your garden? What will you do with what God has done in your life?

 Let us pray.

Gracious and generous God, you open your hand and fill all things living with your bounty. Bless the lands and the waters, and multiply the harvests of our gardens and the gardens of the world. Send forth your Spirit to encourage us in gratitude, that we may joyfully share the abundance you constantly pour out on us and all around us. This we ask through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.

Giving through Women of the ELCA

To support ELCA World Hunger through Women of the ELCA, make out your check to Women of the ELCA and write “ELCA World Hunger” on the memo line. Mail your check to: Women of the ELCA, ELCA Gift Processing Center, P.O. Box 1809, Merrifield, VA 22116-8009.

Past devotions:

June devotion: Practicing gratitude
May devotion: "Easy for her!"
April devotion: Rebuking the fever

March devotion: Prophecies and visions

February devotion: Giving thanks for Bold Women

January devotion: Treasure chest
November devotion: What's at stake?

October devotion: Turn again. Have regard.

September devotion: The ways of God
August devotion: To judge like Deborah

June devotion: How do you receive?