June 23, 2020

Have you ever had an idea that sounded good in theory but it was only when you were in the middle of it that  you realized how much work you had signed on for?  This happened to me this past weekend.

Because we can no longer have a pumpkin patch on the church grounds due to vandalism, Shannon, knowing how much the children enjoyed it, decided to have one at our place.  She ordered a ton of different types of pumpkin seeds.  I told her it was a great idea.  Now comes the part about sounding good in theory but not realizing the amount of effort it was going to take.

We live on a terraced hill.  When the engineers formed the terraces, they used the good, top soil leaving poor soil around our house.

Shannon decided the pumpkin patch would be near the house.  Because of the quality of the soil, we spent three days using tractors and a compact track loader to haul good, fertile soil to the spot of the future pumpkin path.  Then I had to level soil, construct, and install a PVC irrigation system.

As I was working on the irrigation system, Shannon planted hundreds of pumpkin seeds in little, individual mounds.  Each mound was fertilized, watered, and covered in peat moss.  This took an extraordinary amount of work.  We were both worn out.  We agreed we should have thought this through before we jumped into the middle of it.  But that’s how life works.

A young couple has an idealized understanding of marriage.  After they take the vows, then comes the hard work.

Many first time parents have a idealized understanding of raising children.  Then comes the hard reality of parenting.  And to make it even harder, eventually the children become teenagers – enough said.

Pumpkin patches, marriages, and raising children have three things in common.  They are a lot of work, there’s the risk it won’t go as planned, and worth every second.   I am convinced that God honors the effort.  That’s what really matters.

Jesus tells the story of a master who is going on a trip.  Before he leaves, he summons three servants and gives each of them money they are to use on his behalf.  When the master returns, each servant reports on what they had done.

Two servants had been willing to put in the effort and risk needed to be successful.  And Jesus said:  “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ (Matthew 25:23)

The third servant reported he had done nothing – no effort, no risk.  The master was not happy.

A sacred, happy life involves a lot of work, risk, and effort.  It’s about always trusting God when we succeed and when we fail.

So give life your best shot and know it is a lot harder than it looks.  And if you trust God and give it your all, the moment you close your eyes in this world and open them in the next, you will hear God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

Prayer:  Dear Gracious Heavenly God, you have given me life, opportunity, and support.  Because of your love, I will put in the effort, risk, and trust.  I pray my life pleases you.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

Choose to truly live and experience life.  It won’t always be easy.  But it will be worth it.

As I write this devotional, the rain is beating against the windows of our house.  Shannon is afraid all the seeds she planted yesterday will be washed away.  She could be right.  If that happens, we will start over.  Why?  Because it is worth it.

I pray your day is filled with joy and laughter.
Tom Robbins