I walked over to the garden. I stared at the flowers. The vegetables. It was amazing! And the vision disappeared.
So lush, so fruitful, so abundant!
As a child, a neighbor was looking for a young person to help on his small farm-ette. I soon became his right hand man, helping him a couple of times a day for a quarter each time. I would go down in the morning and feed the chickens and geese, gather their eggs and check for critters! Once a week I would shovel chicken manure out into a pile for summer growing. I would have to shoosh the geese out because if they got excited in the small coop it could be dangerous.
I learned to pick strawberries and blackberries and was paid $.10 a basket.(At one point I convinced him to let me sell door to door increasing my pay to $.25!) I learned to garden. I ran rototillers and tractors. From digging of holes, filling them with chicken manure to the planting of the seeds (From the year before-we call them heritage seeds now.) I learned it all. He was patient with me and I was a fast learner. I earned more by daily weeding and picking of vegetables. (And I sold door to door! I never came back with a single thing. I would load everything into a newspaper bag, getting on my bike and riding until I was empty, then back to do it again.)
When I was in my early twenties, I bought my first house. It was a former grist mill. I decided on a garden. Never one to do anything halfway, my 50×50 plot soon covered the old mill bed and was 100×300. I called my friend Mike and ordered in a truckload of cow manure. I traveled to stores and bought seeds. Everything you can image. I read a ton of books and determined my layout. I had an herb bank on one side. I learned to multiply space, partner plant (For instance corn provided the “poles” for beans and in return received nitrogen.) The already thick silt, covered with manure and lots of water and sun grew. I had few “visitors” as my large dog Max slept out on the deck and I had used blood meal and animals refrained. I did weed and I did “toil” but I had learned so many tricks that weeds were minimal as were pests.
And I had abundance. I had so much produce, I had to sell it at our store. I became a regular at Saturday “farmer markets” and sold to area restaurants and stores. My garden was huge. My father-in-law would come and just be amazed.
As I looked around our church fellowship on Sunday and saw the large amount of people, I just was amazed. I thought about abundance and God’s provision.
That night as I was praying I began to see the church as a garden, as a place of growth. (Paul calls us a garden-1 Corinthians 3:9 Once in Adam you were in a garden, but now you ARE a garden!) For a long time I had described our church fellowship as a seedbed of grace and community. I thought about the sun (Son) which warmed our hearts. I thought about “out of our belly shall flow living waters” irrigating and providing for our growth. I thought about how God uses the “decay” (manure) of our life to fuel growth and makes us better (Romans 8:28). How that which was “human” is made spiritual. That the “blood line” is more than enough to protect. That the Holy Spirit brings comfort.
A strong and productive garden needs all that is listed above. A church to be a place of abundance and growth has requirements similar.
I look at the word abundance lately and I wonder what it “really” means. How big is abundance?
2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
Abundance. The more I look at the word the more it changes.
I thought how sometimes we “feel humble” in lack, but God never asks or suggests we be in lack. I remember as a child I “struggled” with choices. So when I earned money and I went to the store to buy “cool” sunglasses or shirts, I could not decide, so I often bought one of “each” color. I thought “perhaps God could not ‘decide’ so He just kept the people coming. His idea of abundance”.
At some point as you read the scriptures you see abundance is NOT a bad thing. (Psalm 31:19 Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!)
- extremely plentiful or oversufficient quantity or supply: an abundance of grain.
- overflowing fullness: abundance of the heart.
- affluence; wealth: the enjoyment of abundance.
If God who is the God of abundance, wants you to abound in good things, not withholding anything (Romans 8:32, James 1:17) what does that “look” like? How much is “abundance”?
I look at the church and think God wants it ALL! Everyone.
I said this a few weeks ago, I hear the sound of rain! (While I drove home from Connecticut on Sunday night, it rained mightily. Inside the car I heard it loud and clear.) I hear the sound of abundance. I can not describe but I think I must “know” it to recognize it. And I believe so must you. Believe on Him. Hear His heart. Listen to His words.
Abundance-pretty sure there is more than enough!