Ten years ago, when my family moved to the home where they live now, my dad planted several fruit trees in our tiny “orchard.” Apples, peaches, plums—we hoped for all of them. But first we had to wait.
Some little trees grew diseased and died. Others were stripped bare by deer and died. Still others never managed to grow at all and died.
But a few grew tall, stretching above my head. Finally, eight years after we planted them, we picked the first peaches.
Even then, the peaches weren’t much. There were only a few, and they were small and spotted. But they represented the fruits of our labor, and eating them in a peach cobbler was all the more satisfying because we had waited so long for them.
I’ve heard about the Parable of the Sower ever since I was a little girl watching Donut Man.
But even though I got the point that not all seeds produced fruit, I don’t think I ever thought about how long it takes some seeds to grow. In the course of a single crop season, the sower or farmer has to wait several months for the harvest. In life, we sometimes have to wait much longer for the harvest. This past weekend, God graciously let me catch a glimpse of some ripening fruit.
There were two baptisms at our church last Sunday. One of them was a little girl who I’ve really had very little interaction with. However, I remember the day two summers ago in VBS when she, as a pre-Kindergartener, asked me what baptism was. I told her about how it was a way to show everyone she loved Jesus. I remember her eyes growing wide when I told her about going under the water. It was so sweet to watch her mama baptize her after telling her how proud she was of her love for Jesus.
The second baptism was for a boy I’ve worked with a couple times each week for the past year and a half through an after school program. He’s rambunctious, enthusiastic, and energetic—sometimes a handful, but filled with genuine curiosity and caring for others. Seeing him dedicate his life to Jesus after a year and a half of ups and downs was such a privilege and not something I can truly put into words.
In the past, I’ve often grown discouraged, not sure my efforts are making any impact, or have had a self-condemning attitude, wondering if my efforts are good enough. The seeds I planted in these two kids were tiny compared to the work done by many other people in their lives. But getting to see those tiny seeds spring to life reminded me of God’s faithfulness never to let His word return void.
As I watched those baptisms and thought about long-awaited fruit and the harvest, I thought too of everyone who is still waiting, still stumbling through the desert and wondering if rain will ever fall and or if their work will ever produce fruit. Men weighed down by thankless work, wondering if it’s meaningful enough to please God. Mamas struggling with dirty diapers and homework assignments, wondering if their kids even hear the lessons they try to pass on. Ministry leaders feeling the drought of souls or finances, wondering if their messages make a difference in anyone’s life.
Today, I’m praying for trust while we plant our seeds, for the Holy Spirit to provide rain to water our seeds, and for patience while we wait for the harvest.
“A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Galatians 6:7b-10