Flipping that calendar page from May to June is exhilarating. With that flip, we hope to wipe away the winter doldrums and cold weather. Ready to welcome summer with open arms.
There are so many things to love about summer — all the water activities, BBQs, picnics in the park, vacation travel, gathering with family and friends not seen for a while, special activities in our church homes, AND ripe summer fruits. Juicy summer fruits, all colors and flavors.
Personally, I’m a strawberry girl. I grew up with my dad growing strawberries in a small garden patch in our backyard just outside the city limits of Nashville, TN. He nurtured every seed and plant in that garden. After leaving an orphanage in his early teens, he apprenticed to a peanut farmer in Winchester, TN. Daddy learned a bit about farming and how to grow edibles.
My favorite way to have my strawberries then was to run to the garden and pick a couple, dirt and all, and eat them right away. You have heard that a little dirt helps to strengthen the immune system, haven’t you? Case in point — I was a very healthy child.
My husband and I grow strawberries in the one sunny spot in our yard. So far 24 plants have grown to 48 and still multiplying. These plants produce sweet, juicy berries and are at the peak of production now.
Here is an image of the first picking left on the kitchen counter as a surprise. Now they are ripening so fast we can hardly keep up with picking them.
The berries remind me of God’s love for us:
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. ~ Psalm 34:8 (NIV)
When I taste one of these juicy, fresh berries, I can tell right away whether it is good or bad. “Taste and see” equates to putting the matter to a test. If I want to know the berry is good to eat, I must taste it. In the same way, to know what God’s love is about I must trust in it and in Him. In return, God showers love and blessings on the tester.
As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come. ~ Mark 4:29 (NIV)
Sometimes I go out to pick berries and because they are bright red, I attempt to pull one from the plant. It is reluctant to let go of its nourishing mother plant. This is similar to the words in Mark 4:29. When God’s work is completed in one of His own, He brings the sickle forth and calls the Christian home. However, we are not to wish for or try to hasten death, despite the trials and illnesses we may face. Our afflictions are God’s way of enriching our lives and ripening us for heaven, just as a strawberry ripens for eating. They are the dressing used to make the Christian more fruitful.
God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— ~ Romans 3:25 (NIV)
Simply stated, any item bearing the color red can be considered symbolic of Christ’s blood. God presented Christ as a sacrifice, and if we believe, we are to receive that sacrifice through faith. Looking on the red of the strawberries, I think of the blood shed for me, a sinner, that my sins be forgiven. How can I not give thanks as I eat these berries if I am mindful of the nurture and sacrifice that went into the birth and death of Jesus Christ?
I hope there is something within this post that touched your heart. It is the scrabbling together of my own thoughts and beliefs as I glory in the harvest that summer brings in our gardens.
What about you? Is there a garden producing food in your yard? If not, do you avail yourself of produce from a nearby farm stand or market? What lessons can we learn from the work that goes into growing our food?
Linking up with:
Kelli Woolford at Chronicles of Grace | Unforced Rhythms
and with Joan at Sharing His Beauty