By Dan DiFolco
“To a gardener, grown is overrated. It’s growing it that makes the fruit sweet.”
John 15 is a beloved chapter for many. It is not the beautiful message of us all being a wine that needs pruning, stomping, and waiting before becoming the vintage wine that God has made each of us that I want to highlight in this season.
I am the true vine,and my Father is the gardener.
- John 15:1
I want to stop right after verse one where Jesus says, “my Father is the gardener.” It is this small declaration from Jesus that reminds me of truly how much God loves gardening. It is this statement that I see flowing through all of the parables, and illustrations of gardening throughout the Bible. Some may blame the influence of a great agricultural society at the time, but I believe down to my core that God seriously does love gardening; He grew the garden of Eden as one of the first things in creation, didn’t He?
I want to share the big picture surrounding this serious truth of who God is because I find no coincidence in the timing of this great pandemic falling hard upon the world during a season where farmers begin planting their crops; especially grapes.
What I believe our Father, the gardener, is in the midst of is a worldwide season of planting. Ecclesiastes 3 tells us there is a time for all things under the sun, and this is the time of the year for our agricultural family to plant. It is the first phase of great harvest.
1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
9 What do workers gain from their toil?
10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race.
11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
- Ecclesiastes 3:1-11
But before a great harvest can be grown and even before it is planted, the ground must be cultivated. It must be disrupted and things that shouldn’t be growing need to be picked out, making the soil good.
(...Matthew 13, Parable of the Sower...)
Believe it or not, the stoppage of all sports, entertainment, social gatherings and also the distancing of people was the cultivation at full effect. Spiritually, all distractions were eliminated, only left with you and your organic life... the life before all this “extra.”
Sadly, some people have forgotten that they have families and friends that were missing their attention. Even worse, some of us forgot that we had a God who loves us so much that we just realized He seems so far away. But what this time of cultivating did, is between you and Him.
What I care about is reminding you that after cultivation comes planting. 2 Samuel 7:10 tells us that God plants His people and we were planted for a time like this. Further, it is our duty to reproduce and produce more fruit for our Father's glory (see John 15). So what are you planting in this season? Is it new spiritual disciplines? Is it new relationships? Is it new habits? Are you planting seeds of faith in other's lives?
And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore,as they did at the beginning. - 2 Samuel 7:10
I ask you this because the truth is, what comes before harvest is a growing season. What comes before vintage wine is stomping. What is to come after this I warn you will be challenging, it will hurt at times, but it will also be so exciting as each stage in the growing season sparks new hope.
So, if you want to be included in the great harvest that God has planned after this great planting season, it’s time to focus on what you are planting in your life right now.
“While we isolate ourselves, may we not isolate the message of the gospel. Instead may it spread, first through the good soil of a pure heart, grounded in prayer, Rained upon in worship, sprouting forth in glorious praise, and blossoming in sinners set free. A garden of fragrance to honor our King.” -
With Love For His Kingdom,