I have struggled with my gardens while living in South Africa.
My friend, Bethany, & I planted the garden
only a month after I moved here in 2012.
After that, it began to grow and flourish.
Then the predators began to come.
The monkeys would steal the tomatoes, potatoes, and even eat some flowers.
|Mama monkey carrying baby|
They would uproot my root vegetables, leaving the half eaten carrots on top.
As a missionary, my goal is to share the Gospel,
lead people to Christ and help them grow in their spiritual walk.
My garden often reminds me of the spiritual growth in
myself and the South African ladies that the Lord has put into my life.
The Gospel was planted & watered.
The seed took root and appears to be growing.
A little while ago, I was sitting in the front room studying for my Zulu class.
I briefly looked out the window to see a monkey thief
pulling out all of my beautiful carrots.
I ran to the window and clapped my hands to chase it away.
Then, I returned to my studies.
After a few minutes, movement from the window caught my eye again.
That monkey came back to pull more carrots out.
This time I got up and opened the veranda door and threatened him
with a shovel in my hand.
He calmly looked at me, grabbed a few more carrots,
and climbed back up on the roof.
I was frustrated with that bad monkey by this time.
My carrots were not as big as I wanted them to be,
so I was not ready to dig them out yet.
After mumbling a few words about how I wanted to kill those pesty monkeys,
I sat down to continue my studies.
Just as I sat down, I saw that the monkey thief
had already returned to the carrot patch.
That was it!
I had to do something more permanent about it!
No, I did not kill the monkey.
(It is illegal to do that here.)
I bent down and picked up all of the uneaten carrots
that the monkey had pulled out.
Then I dug out all of the rest.
Although, the carrots were all planted at the same time,
I immediately saw the drastic difference in their growth.
This reminded me of the difference in the spiritual growth
of myself and those around me.
Everything may look the same of the outside,
but it is what is below the surface that God is concerned about.
Week after week, I have invested in the spiritual growth of others
by teaching Bible Studies and discipleship courses.
Yet, there is an apparent difference in the growth rate of each individual.
This life lesson from my garden reminded me that
there are hindrances in each of our lives to spiritual growth.
It is our duty as Christians to go before the Lord
in prayer asking Him to examine our hearts,
cleanse us with His Word, and help us to grow as He sees fit.
It is not the rate with which we grow that is as important as
the fact that we ARE growing!