A couple of years ago, I removed the sand from the kids sand box with the intent of planting a garden. My youngest daughter and I worked on tilling the garden with a borrowed rototiller. We then planted beans, corn, sunflower, watermelon and squash seeds the week before Memorial Day.
The first thing to pop up were weeds - lots of them. We spent time hoeing and pulling weeds to allow the plants to sprout. After a couple of weeks, the seeds sprouted! It was so cool to watch the expression on my daughter's face as we looked at the sprouts.
Then it was more weeds. Weeds, weeds, weeds. Lots of work to keep the vegetables growing and the weeds down! The sprouts grew, the plants flowered and small beans began to form. It wasn't log before had beans!
The reality is that what I wrote in a a couple of paragraphs took about 60 days of time and many hours of labor. I was reminded of what Paul said to the church in Galatia:
Galatians 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
We understand this - planting comes first and then harvesting. However, we want the time between harvesting and planting to be measured in minutes, not weeks and months. The reality is that there is a lot of time between the planting and the harvest. Tilling, weeding, hoeing, weeding, keeping the rabbits from eating the plants, thinning the plants, weeding....lots of time and work and THEN there is the harvest.
Paul is enjoining us to believe that we WILL reap a harvest; keep planting, keep weeding, keep the rabbits out - you will reap if you continue to obey. God gave us a garden to illustrate this eternal principle!
(PS Anyone want some tomatoes?)