Gardening

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”

This opening line of Ecclesiastes 3 is so true, so profound and so comforting. In this life, the description given by Solomon, the writer of Ecclesiastes, is spot on: “Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever” (Ecclesiastes 1:1-4 ESV).

Seasons come and seasons go. Early in this dissertation by Solomon, he seems to be despairing. Seriously, when people speak of things “getting back to normal,” what does that mean? In the scheme of God’s eternal plan, this world never left normal. When we attempt to fathom the grand plan of God, it is true that the work of man is all vanity.

At the end of the presentation, Solomon concludes: “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13 ESV).

I can tell you, homesteading is hard work. Some friends of ours are establishing their own homestead. Last weekend, we helped as they felled some trees and burned brush. There is yet to be a house built, but already we were discussing the chicken run and fencing and woodstoves and where to put the garden.

While it is easy for me to join in the excitement of envisioning the established homestead, my arms already ache knowing the work they have in store. Thankfully, they are fully aware. But I will admit, some days the thought is real: “All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?”

I think that is the point.

As we consider the issues of our world today, we would do well to remember: Fear God and keep his commandments. Wars and rumors of war, pandemics and poverty, brokenness and sadness. It’s terrible like never before. Really? I don’t think so.

Everything has its season. There is a time for everything under the sun. And let’s not forget Ecclesiastes 1:9: “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun” (ESV).

Or, as Doris Day sang so beautifully, “Que sera, sera. Whatever will be, will be. The future’s not ours to see. Que sera, sera. What will be, will be.”

“Jesus is returning soon!” is a common statement I hear today. Maybe. We don’t know. To be honest, I am less interested in how you think that will play out and more interested in your urgency to share the Gospel.

Pandemic! Sickness! Disease! We’re gonna die! Yes, 100% of all people will die one day. Calm down.

There are countless “solutions” to these issues. There is also much confusion. Satan, the author of confusion, is having a blast. My position is this: don’t tell me your medical remedies unless you are eating right, exercising, soaking in some sunshine, breathing deep the fresh air God provides. Focus on healthy living before symptomatic remedies.

Shortages! Supply chain collapse! We’re gonna die! Calm down people.

Let me first say toilet paper is not a survival item. Before you share with me conspiracy ideas and complaints about shortages, can we recognize how spoiled we are? I was at the grocery recently. I watched a lady and her grown daughter freaking out because the strawberry case was empty. Everything in me wanted to intervene: “Ma’am, it’s November. Strawberries in November are a luxury. I saw plenty of butternut squash. Calm down.”

I didn’t. But I did laugh out loud as I listened to their rant.

I can’t tell you how comforting it is on the homestead to have the larder filled with delicious food that will last through the winter. We are preparing for some “protein harvests” in the coming days. I have already announced to the prize turkey in my field, “You are invited to be the special guest at our Thanksgiving dinner!” (I just lost some of you!)

My point is this: “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7 ESV).

Turn off the TV. Get off social media. My Daddy would say, “Quit yer bellyachin’!” Get busy. Eat well. Exercise. Fill the pantry with enough for you and others. Share food. Share the Gospel.

“Finally, friends, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8).

To God be the glory!