By Kathleen Billings
I have been a gardener for most of my life. As a young child, I would help my mother plant, water and weed our large family garden. We grew an array of fruits and vegetables, but my favorite thing to grow was pumpkins. I vividly remember being entertained summer after summer by the way that they always wiggled their twisted vines into our gracious neighbor’s yard. Then, discovering the prized pumpkins buried beneath the large leaves was always so thrilling!
Now, as a wife and mother of five, who has gardened for my own family for 22 years, I have l come to appreciate and value agricultural beyond the thrill of harvesting what I planted. Providing home grown organic fruits and veggies for my family of 7 is a rewarding feeling, but what I most value about growing my own produce is the abundance of rich spiritual analogies I can draw from my experiences and the numerous biblical references to agriculture that come alive through my experiences.
Sacred Scripture has a lot to say about the whole notion of sowing and reaping in particular. As an avid gardener it is a rather easy concept for me to relate to – when I take time to properly sow and cultivate my seeds, I will reap a bountiful harvest in due season. The amount of effort that I exhort through preparing the soil, weeding and planting determines what kind of harvest I will reap.
This same concept applies to all aspects of our lives. We reap what we sow. Our results are based on our actions. It’s the basic notion of cause and effect. Hosea 10:12 says “Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap unfailing love.” If we want to experience unfailing love, life eternal – then we must lead a righteous life. Simply said, but not so simple to live.
In Galatians 6: 7-9 God reveals to us the secret to planting the right kinds of seeds in our lives. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” If we live our lives united to Christ, then we will live in His Spirit and our actions will reflect that. The seeds we sow will be life giving and not life draining. They will fill our souls with beauty instead of ugliness, and our hearts with peace instead of unrest.
We all have sown good seeds. We all have sown bad seeds. God calls us to sift through the weeds and the wheat in our lives and move forward in faith.
What have you sown in your life? What are you sowing right now? What is your prized pumpkin? Has it made its way into your neighbor’s heart? Do not be afraid to uproot and replant if necessary. We will always reap what we sow, the good and the bad, but God can heal the areas of our lives where we have not allowed Him as the Master Gardener to guide our actions. St. John Paul II said, “Do not be afraid of the truth of who you are!” Have courage to do inventory of the fruit present in your life and to weed and rearrange the garden of your soul. The Master Gardener awaits.
About the author:
Kathleen Billings is married to her best friend, a mother of five beautiful blessings and three more souls in Heaven. She has a BA in theology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Together with her husband, Troy, they began and direct a vibrant parish based Marriage Ministry called BAM – Building Amazing Marriages. Kathleen has a personal blog entitled seasonsoftheheartandhome.com where she writes about living her faith, in every season, as a wife and mother amidst the ordinary moments each day that God wants to make extraordinary. She is a regular blogger on marriage for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Website and is also a contributing author to the book “Amazing Grace for Mothers.” Kathleen has been an active Catholic speaker for the past 20 years – speaking at days of recollection, retreats for women, retreats for married couples, evenings of reflection and women’s groups.
Photo Courtesy of Kathleen Billings. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
It’s basically cause and effect.
Hosea 10:12 Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap unfailing love. Break up the unplowed ground for yourselves, for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers deliverance on you.