I guess it must be this time of year that makes me think so much of gardening. Of course, it could be that big green house in the back yard I've spent so much time in or the fact that the garden needs tending and the Farmer's Market is finally open...I don't know.
Growing up we always had a garden. Sometime in late February, Daddy would crank up that old, popping, sputtering John Deer Tractor and begin the disking and plowing. It wouldn't be long and we would all be planting seeds in the neat, straight rows.
I hated that garden...Daddy always made us work and sometimes it was spread over acres and acres. It didn't matter to him what our plans were, how hot it was, or what day of the week; when the garden needed weeding he armed all the kids with hoes. When it was time to harvest we traded in our hoes for baskets. Heaven help us if when he got home from work and our gardening wasn't done... Yep, I really hated that part...but I loved eating from it. We were allowed to eat everything we wanted, as much as we wanted, when we wanted, and we didn't have to ask permission. I've eaten fresh tomatoes and strawberries until my mouth had blisters, I've gorged myself on watermelon and cantaloupe, been hosed off, and sent back out to finish my weeding or picking. I've eaten every vegetable raw, straight from the garden - even those that are really best cooked. To this day, I love fresh vegetables and I don't really mind the work of a garden.
As I got older, I had a turn or two at the helm of old 'Poppin John." The first time my rows were a bit wavy (OK crooked.) How could that old man (probably younger than I am now!) get those rows so straight? Finally, he told me. "See that fence row at the end of the garden?" "Yes, sir." I replied. As obedient 'southern' children know, it is always sir. "Aim for the post, keep your focus on it - you always go where you are looking."
Now that I am almost 50 years old that advice rings true in a different light. In Matthew 14:22-34. Jesus sends the disciples ahead of him and heads to the mountains by himself to pray. Later that evening 'the boat was a considerable distance from the land buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.' So what does Jesus do? Takes off walking across the water...The disciples are freaking out; they think they see a ghost! But He calms them down and tells them who He is and Peter, says Lord, if that's you, tell me to come to you on the water. So He does, Peter gets out of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. (v.30) But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out to the Lord, "Save Me!"
You see, as long as Peter kept his focus on Christ, he was fine. He was walking on water straight to the Lord. But...he took his eyes off Jesus, got afraid and immediately started sinking. That is just like us! Everything is going along fine and dandy, we are focused on Christ, growing, serving, making an impact on the lives of others...then something comes along and distracts us. We loose our focus, and begin sinking. It could be work, children, special projects, anything...It could be as simple as someone hurt our feelings. Now we are focused on ourselves and what we need to do, should do, or want to do. Praise God, He will reach out and grab us when we cry out!
Daddy was so right back then. You go straight to what you are focused on. If it is Jesus, you are plowing straight, if it is the world or yourself...your path gets a bit wavy and winding, you get off track and your life looks just as bad as that first garden I plowed.
My question today is what are you looking at? Where is your focus, right now? Do you need to cry out to Jesus today?