Bringing Forth Fruit

So, earlier this year, we decided to plant a garden.

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From humble beginnings it grew to be the envy of all our neighbors. (Garden-plot neighbors, anyway.)

For a good while, it was just our watering the plants over and over every day, watching them grow–

then came the first pepper.

ImageAnd some radishes.

ImageAnd then things got crazy.

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Two zucchini plants was definitely too much.

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The great spiral cucumber of 1999

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There was also the yellow squash that grew straight up into the air.  No pictures, but imagine it: a yellow squash growing straight up into the air.  Eventually it got big and broke the stem off.  That was the day we decided we had picked it.

And then there was one little cucumber.

Everything we planted started out small, of course, but this one cucumber never got any bigger.  It never withered away, either, but it just sat there.  Eventually my wife moved it out of its prime real estate over to the side of the box, where it continued to just sit there (I refused to let her throw it out).  Another cucumber was moved into its original place, which, despite its having arrived a month later than everyone else, soon grew big enough to rival the other plants in the garden, and to have to be constantly picked out of the neighboring tomato plants.

One day, the little cucumber started sprouting another leaf.  And then a couple more.  One day it flowered.  And then, a little cucumber even began to grow!

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That was as big as it ever got.  It was certainly nothing compared to the copious cucumbers and zucchine our garden spits out almost daily.  But it was all that little plant could do.

Ever since the little cucumber started growing, it has reminded me of the parable of the sower:

But other [seeds] fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, and some thirtyfold.

–Matthew 13:8

Now, I know there are several interpretations of this passage, some of which are less well-inclined to the thirtyfold-yielding seeds than others.  But when I read this passage, I think of those of us who, like this cucumber, contributed all they had, even if it didn’t seem like much.

The older I get (and I’ve got a ways to go), the more I see examples of people who don’t fit the Mormon “mold” but who are truly spiritual people, doing their absolute best to serve the Lord and keep His statutes.  I have felt the Spirit listening to people who I know are imperfect, but who are nevertheless worthy of spiritual blessings–and worthy to teach me about them.  I have had to struggle with my own place in the Kingdom; to realize that all my efforts, all the time I’ve spent developing godly habits, every time I’ve bitten my tongue or silenced my internal monologue in favor of helping someone else, difficult as they are for me, may never amount to much in anyone else’s eyes, let alone my own.  But the Lord knows men’s hearts.  He knows the sacrifices of the people who sit quietly in rows during Sacrament Meeting; things we will probably never know about each other.  And the important thing to remember is that this:

Imageis just as big as this:

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(same pencil)

in the Lord’s eyes; that even if one little cucumber is all you can come up with, it is enough for Him.  And enough is all He needs.


Martin, Agnus Dei

I just discovered this piece a couple of days ago. It is so beautiful I can’t get it out of my head. I hope you like it.