I peer down into each four inch by four inch pod of the Jiffy Seed Starter, shovel in two spoonfuls of bagged soil into all 50 pods, spread the seeds out on my palm and drop them one by one inside each pod. Then I pat one more spoonful of soil to cover the seeds. Did I plant the seeds too deep or not deep enough? How much water? How much sunlight? I stand over the seed starter in the backyard, drenching my dirty work with the hose, and breathe in the deep pungent scent of wet earth. My job is to simply plant. Like Paul in I Corinthians 3:6, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.”
What will become of my beans, tomatoes and peppers? Will they actually survive? I’m told that the Seed Starter kit is the most effective way for beginning gardeners to start the process indoors in early April, while outdoor temps are still at risk for nocturnal freezing. Joy and expectation well within me as I anticipate transplanting the pods to their outdoor home. What’s the worst mistake I could make with vegetables? None grow. So I will start over if necessary. Seeds, soil and water.
A series of complex chemical reactions will inspire each tiny buried seed to life. Somehow microscopic nutrients within the soil will spring into action. Cell walls and chlorophyll will form. Detecting the first hint of a stem pushing its way to the surface will thrill me.
And much more work will be required of me, once I transplant them outdoors, when I check them daily, water, weed, and fret over insect attacks. Perspiration and and frustration will drip from my forehead as I work to nurture them to ripeness. Although I would like to claim freedom from foul words, few may escape from my lips on those days when I don’t feel like caring for the garden, but do so anyway. Master gardening or botany will never be my area of expertise. I prefer instead to enjoy the mystery in watching the miracle unfold. It will teach me patience and heighten my awareness of the Divine. “So neither he (or she) who plants nor he (or she) who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” (I Corinthians 3:7).
As I sow seeds of vegetables, I think of what an honor and privilege it would be to sow the words of language describing how the Gospel message has changed my life. Planting a tomato takes as much faith as writing. I do not know how many pairs of eyes will read the pieces I scribble from scripture. Not all seeds produce fruit and not all writing is effective. Both require time, effort and patience. But the best miracle of all is that God has the most difficult part. He does the unseen work when nothing appears to be happening. He orchestrates every complex chemical reaction that cause blase reactions to the Gospel message in one moment to turn to genuine desire to know Him in the next.