Friday, August 01, 2008

Lesson in a Cornfield

My three-year-old grandson fidgets during car trips. Does that surprise you? He's proud, though, of his ability to distinguish among the various crops growing in the fields around us now. So during Grammie Camp last week, when we had occasion to be in the car together (along with his seven-year-old sister, two-year-old brother and my fourteen-year-old niece helper), we played, "Name That Crop."

"Benny, what's that field?"

"CORN!" he'd shout. Shouting has a tendency to get on a driver's nerves, but on the other hand, happiness doesn't. So we persisted with the game.

When tempers flared in the back seat, we'd point out the window and ask, "Benny, what's that one?"

Instant recognition. "Corn!"

My niece and I found ourselves praising God for cornfields. The wheat, alfalfa, and soybean crops were harder for him to recognize. But the boy knows his corn. And it kept him entertained.

It kept me entertained, too. And humbled. Corn isn't the only crop that has a whole lot more leaf and stem and root than it does fruit. Or in this case, vegetable. Six or eight feet of stalk for every two or three ears of corn. Does that seem efficient, Lord?

The bean plants in my garden are leafy and leggy. They produce a handful of beans per plant.

My tomato plants are so jungle-like this year that I may not be able to find the tomatoes until the plants die back a little.

Does it ever seem to you that the "plant" part of your life is massive in proportion to the "harvest" part of your life? Apparently, that's the nature of things. We will do a whole lot more planting--showing kindness, caring for others, investing in relationships, endeavoring on the job, reaching out, reaching up--than we will picking fruit.

Knowing that's just how it is offers comfort somehow. I'm not in the wrong if I work long and hard for what seems a small harvest. It's a lesson I learned from the corn...and the God who created it that way.


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Eileen said...

This squatty lil pumpkin lady sure is humbled by this vivid lesson!

Mary Pierce said...

This HUGE plant thanks you for making her feel much better about her puny fruit! ;-) We NEED all that foliage--supplying, sheltering, sustaining, yes? I hope so cuz I'm leafy and leggy and bushy... thanks as usual for the delightful encouragement, my friend. And the "Grammie Camp" idea is fabulous - next summer for sure!