January is the usual time of year when people start planning and creating goals, making behavior and lifestyle adjustments to influence the change they want to see in their lives for the upcoming year.
For many Believers, this month is a time of fasting, to deny ourselves of food, entertainment, and all those things we physically crave, so that we focus our attention on God to help us clearly hear from Him for guidance and direction. Additionally, we prepare the list of things we’re praying and hoping that God will do for us throughout the year.
I’m not a big fruit and vegetable eater. I never eat the recommended daily intake, except when I’m on the Daniel Fast. For much of this month, my grocery bill has been higher than normal due to increased fruit and veggies that we’ve been consuming as a family.
One day I was cutting up vegetables for a salad, I considered how things would have been different if I had to grow all of that produce instead of buying it from the store. I thought about all that it would take to have a successful harvest.
And my mind went to the biblical principle of Seedtime and Harvest. When planting seeds, there are steps that one must take to ensure a successful harvest. Since I had limited knowledge and skills on gardening, I reached out to my mom and aunt for guidance.
My grandparents moved from Georgia to New Jersey during the Great Migration. Their families were farmers down south, like many African American families during Reconstruction. As a child I remember seeing my grandmother out in her garden working tirelessly.
There was a small area behind her house that we could play, that was surrounded on two sides by the garden. When playing with my siblings and cousins, sometimes a game of tag or kickball may cause us to run into the field. Immediately everyone would grow silent and shift our eyes towards the house to see if my grandmother noticed. It would not have been a good outcome if she had!
As I talked to my mom and aunt about their experience as children working with their parents in their garden, I was able to compare the steps they took to the process of planting spiritual seeds in our lives:
- My grandparents would clear the fields from rocks, stones, or anything else that would interfere with the growth of the plants. During my fast, I also stopped watching Netflix, reduced my social media time, and eliminated many foods that provided no health benefits. This helped to remove any distractions from my fast and my focus on God through my prayers.
- Next, my grandfather plowed the fields by hand to break up the soil to ensure the plants would take root and have good drainage. This was a very labor-intensive process since he couldn’t afford a machine to make the job easier. Spiritually, this activity is emotionally difficult, as I had to break up much of the harmful and destructive thinking and behaviors that I’ve gotten comfortable with but could hinder my seeds from taking root and growing.
- My grandparents then planted rows for different seeds – peas, cucumbers, squash, corn, okra, lima beans, string beans, watermelon, and cantaloupe. This is our time to go before God, and there is no limit to what we can pray for. God doesn’t have a quota for the number of things you pray. We can plant specific seeds for each family member, for our job, finances, health, or whatever it is that we need God to move on. He wants us to come to Him for every request that concerns us. Seeds can also be planted by giving financial blessings or donating your time to the church, organizations, or individuals.
- After the seeds were planted, it was time to water them. My grandparents would carry a bucket down every row and scoop water individually for each plant. For this step, I keep a journal of prayer requests, and each day I pray over different things, and also determine what actions steps I need to take to ensure my seeds stay healthy and I don’t do or say anything to run over my seeds the way we did playing in the backyard at my grandparents’ house.
My grandmother was so protective of her garden because she and my grandfather labored so much over every seed. They didn’t have the modern-day conveniences available for planting, and her harvest was vital to sustaining her family of seven throughout the year until they could plant again.
Just as their harvest was critical for my family’s survival, the seeds we plant now are essential for the future we are praying for and desiring for our lives. We shouldn’t expect a harvest later in the year if we haven’t planted anything.
It’s always planting season. If you haven’t sowed any seeds this year, you can start today, tomorrow, next week, or whenever you are ready to start clearing your field. Different seeds and different prayers are answered on different intervals. Just as all those seeds, I listed earlier harvested at different times, some prayers may be answered before others.
And this means some of your family and friends may have prayers answered while you are still waiting on yours – someone may have gotten married while you are still waiting or gotten a promotion while you are still stuck at the same job. God provides sunshine and rain on our seed according to His timeline. Some of your prayers may come to harvest next month, others later in the year, but some may take years to be answered.
So, it’s important to always, Always, ALWAYS remember Galatians 6:9:
Let us not become weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not give up.
I think I have this planting thing down for my seeds of faith. Maybe I’ll try my hand at planting a real garden this year and continue what my grandparents started all those years ago. Maybe.
What seeds have you started to plant for this year? What step are you on?
If you haven’t planted anything yet, spend some time in prayer and reflect on what you want God to do in your life. Then, start planting!
Feel free to respond in the comments section… and share this story with someone in your life that could use the encouragement.
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