"From the Garden is a collection of twelve short devotionals reflecting on gardening metaphors found in the Bible that offer us lessons in spiritual growth."
This short, easy to digest book would be a great gift for anyone interested in growth, gardening, or both! 100% of proceeds from this book are donated to the author's home church, Villa Rica First United Methodist Church at the Garden. (Print copies available at Amazon)
Here is an excerpt:
The Mystery of Growth
By Bonnie McClure
There is some kind of magical mystery to growth. As a gardener, you can get all the tools, use pH balanced soil, control all the variables like water, sunshine, and nutrients, but as humans, we still have not gained the capacity to actually make something grow. I cannot simply tell my squash, “grow three measurable centimeters today! Tomatoes, sprout five new leaves before bedtime tonight,” while my plants might enjoy the conversation; my breath would otherwise be wasted.
Likewise, my seeds do not await my instruction to begin growing. Once they’ve been cast into the fertile soil, many microscopic processes begin to unfold that I’m either unaware of or cannot physically see. But, as the parable below states, while I am waking and while I am sleeping, we know these processes are at work, because one day, I walk outside, and the empty ground where I had buried my seeds, has now sprouted forth something entirely new.
Growth is an organic process that reveals what is inherent under the right conditions. If we create all the right conditions, we are often rewarded with life giving fruit. Sometimes, even when we think we have created all the right conditions, our efforts still do not prosper, and we know it may just be that it is not the season or some other yet unknown criteria has not been met. In this case, we go to work reflecting on what that may be and we try again with new information.
While the growth process remains somewhat of a mystery to us, God understands every single, minute step. In accordance with His divine plan, it is He who coaxes every vine, every leaf, and every fruit into existence. He is also responsible for every millimeter of our growth. He graciously invites us to participate in this process, but ultimately it is He who makes our garden full grown.
Mark 4:26-29 (NIV)
26 He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28 All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. 29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”