Fourteen baby cantaloupes. That’s how many I counted in my 8’ x 4’ raised bed. You’d think I’d be thrilled at the productivity of these couple of cantaloupe vines. The only problem? I didn’t plant them. Having spent all winter carefully planning each raised bed and square foot of garden space, this particular raised bed was earmarked for tomatoes and peppers. I had no idea if these foreign cantaloupes would help or hurt my Better Boys and Costa Rican Reds.
But I couldn’t convince myself to pull the vines either. They were growing so well—better, in fact, than the cantaloupes I carefully and intentionally planted in hills not far away.
I couldn’t shake my confusion with the whole situation. Being only my second gardening year, I wasn’t aware that this is actually pretty common. These unplanned plants are called “volunteers.” Apparently, seed from last year’s cantaloupes had blown into that bed and taken root. Now I found myself excitedly waiting for these fourteen-plus cantaloupes to ripen. I’m the only one in our family who likes them, so what was I going to do with all those cantaloupes anyway?
As I stared at this strange sight, a verse came to my mind that I never understood. It’s located in the Parable of the Talents:
“…’You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed and gather where I scattered no seed?’” (Matthew 25:26 ESV)
The “Master” speaking in this verse represents God. That always puzzled me. Why in the world would God expect to reap where he had never sown? It made no sense to me. And cantaloupes ripening where I had not planted them made no sense to me as a beginning gardener. I could only watch and scratch my head.
But, now, gazing at my fourteen cantaloupes, it made perfect sense.
Those cantaloupes were the products of last year’s diligent sowing. I didn’t get many cantaloupes last year, though—maybe two or three. Rabbits ate almost all of my cantaloupe plants, and I was disappointed that my time and effort of preparing for an enormous cantaloupe harvest came to very little.
But this year! I had no idea what I was going to do with at least fourteen cantaloupes, in addition to the ones I actually planted!
I had to laugh at God’s way of showing me this truth. What we sow at any given time may not produce the bounty we expect at the time we expect it, but when the time is right, God causes fruit to grow. It may not come in the season in which it was sown. In fact, we may never see the fruit ripening on the vine. If, for instance, we’d move away this year, I’d never see the sweet result of last year’s hard work.
Our job is to prepare the land, sow in the right season, care for what we sow, and leave the results to God. He may, in fact, bring a great harvest at a time we least expect it.
The servant in Matthew 25:24 called the Master a “hard man,” but while the Master repeated the servant’s other descriptions of himself, he never agreed that he was a hard master. At first glance, expecting to reap where no seed was sown and gather where no seed was scattered seems harsh. But after watching this beautiful picture in nature, I realize this is actually an amazing characteristic of God. We never know how and when God will bring bounty from our faithfulness, even when our faithfulness at first glance seems to be for nothing.
Are you in a season of discouragement where you see no fruit of your labor? Keep preparing the land. Keep sowing. Keep caring for what you sow. And leave the reaping to the Master Gardener.
Did you enjoy this devotional? Be sure and get your copy of the Glory in the Garden: 31 Days of Devotionals on kindle or paperback here.
Join my journey on the blog! Sign up here to never miss a post!