I pruned the vines one month ago when it was supposed to be safe to do so. Grapevines are some of the last plants to begin new growth in Spring. Last week my vineyard began to show new branches and tender leaves and last week we had a light frost in the vineyard. I was concerned the new growth might have been burned by the frost which would be like I had pruned the vines all over again. Not fatal; just a setback; a delay in Spring growth. But things seem to have weathered the cold.
You know what Forest Gump’s Mama always said don’t you? “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.” That’s not true of the vineyard. Those vines are a patented variety from south Georgia and they yield nice large, dark purple, sweet grapes. I wasn’t surprised by white, green or bronze grapes. I planted dark grapevines. I expected and got dark grapes. It may be true of chocolates – the Whitman’s Sampler kind – but it is not true of plants, or life for that matter. You know what you can expect. You reap what you sow. With the measure you measure out, it shall be measured unto you. It may be late in blooming but what you plant is what you get. Once I was sitting beside my grandson, Eli, as he slowly picked the sesame seeds off the top of a cheeseburger he was eventually going to eat – the cheeseburger, not the seeds. “Papa”, he said, “Do you know if you want to grow a cheeseburger tree all you have to do is plant some of these seeds?” I wonder if anyone has told Burger King? If the Word of God is right, if it really is a Kingdom principle that we reap what we sow, shouldn’t we take great care in what we sow? The movie, Pay It Forward, was about sowing; sowing kindness; sowing in word and deed. This is not a chicken and egg scenario. Sowing comes first, before reaping. A good harvest may and should lead to greater sowing but first comes the sowing.
And think about how small a seed is compared to what grows from it. – Another biblical illustration, as in a mustard seed. I’m thinking about one of the things we sow each and every day without giving much thought to it. According to some research women sow around 25,000 of these each day while men sow about half that. Words. They’re such powerful seeds; with the power of life and death. One of my favorite movies is the 1999 film, Cider House Rules. Much of the movie takes place in an orphanage in New England in the 1940’s. The orphanage of unwanted discarded children is managed by a caring doctor who virtually gives his life to them. Every night in the routine life of the orphanage the doctor goes to the boys’ dormitory where the children are ready for lights out and speaks over them the last words they will hear for the night: “Good night you princes of Maine, you kings of New England!” He is sowing seeds of hope that, even in the rocky soil of life’s hardness, may find place in a little boy’s heart to take root. In the movie, The Help, the character, Aibileen Clark, played by Viola Davis sows powerful seeds every day into the life of the little girl of an absent father and a critical mother. Among the seeds of negative self doubt sowed by the little girl’s mother Aibileen sprinkles seeds of hope: “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” I’m sure that those seeds are sown with the prayer of Miss Aibileen that they will some day grow and choke out any weed sown in unkindness.
Unlike my back yard which really doesn’t have anymore room for planting, our world has plenty of room for seeds of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Guaranteed to be good fruit!