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Mid-May has always been a time of some conflict for me.


On the one hand, I’ve long adhered to May 15 as the first safe date for planting the garden. As long as I can remember planting a garden in Minnesota, I’ve never lost a tender garden plant to frost as long as I have planted on or after May 15.


On the other hand, that most revered, treasured, and honored of all secular holidays –Opening Day of Fishing Season– occurs on the weekend closest to May 15.


I say it’s a time of conflict, but it’s not really a tough decision. When the choice comes down to gardening or fishing, I will pick fishing. Every. Single. Time.


But I will feel ever-so-slightly guilty about it– certainly not while I’m fishing, but as I am planting the garden on the following weekend.


I really shouldn’t beat myself up on this one. The tomatoes don’t seem to mind being planted a week later and, if it gets to be late July or early August and I absolutely cannot wait another moment for a BLT with homegrown tomatoes before mine are ripe in the garden, there are people who planted their tomatoes instead of going fishing and will sell me as many as I want. 


Gardening and fishing are a lot alike as both are hobbies that can and do produce food better than I can buy in the grocery store (No offense intended to all who make an honest living selling groceries. Thank you for all you do, and please continue reading.) but at far, far greater expense than what they charge for the same items in said grocery store. There is a very good reason I never find myself tempted to apply strict accounting procedures to the cost of freshly-caught walleye fillets. 


Both gardening and fishing draw me to God. 


Genesis 2:8


“Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made.” (NLT)


God was the first gardener. And he put Adam in the garden to take care of it. God made man with a purpose and reason. Adam was not made to sit around and twiddle his thumbs. 


Gardening was the first vocation. There is an ageless, undeniable connection to working the soil and producing food. The beauty of green, growing things is a timeless longing in the human soul. 


Our souls have the same connection to water. Lakefront property has far greater value than landlocked property. We all love to sit by the lake or the ocean or the beach or the brook and have our souls stirred and calmed by that beauty.


At least four of the twelve Jesus called to be His disciples were fishermen. A great deal of His preaching, teaching, and healing took place within sight of or on the Sea of Galilee. He did miracles with great catches of fish, fed crowds with fish, arranged for a fish to be involved in paying taxes, ate fish with His disciples after His resurrection to show He wasn’t a ghost, and restored Peter over a morning shore lunch of fish. The earliest Christians even used the fish symbol to identify themselves to one another.


And I’m certainly not about to forget Jesus calling those fisherman to be disciples in Matthew 4:19:


“And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”’ (ESV)


Or how He told The Parable of the Sower and, as He explains it in Mark 4:14, He says, 


“The farmer plants seed by taking God’s word to others.” (NLT) 


So, I’m not conflicted at all about why my soul seems to feed on gardening and fishing. It’s natural. Both are enormous blessings that enrich my life and generate a wholeness, a oneness and assurance that God is indeed good and He has given me great, great gifts and blessings to enjoy, but enjoying those gifts all for myself feels like being half a Christian.


Jesus has done amazing things in my life. I’ve seen Him do amazing things in the lives of others. I have felt the power of His presence, the glorious magnitude of His love for all people, I have heard Him call “Come” to the people of the world, I have been blessed to stand looking out over the Sea of Galilee and been moved to tears by all He is. 


I cannot keep that to myself and call myself a Christian. I have been changed forever, born again, and a fresh cucumber or fried sunfish filet is thirty, sixty, a hundred times better knowing that it brings Him joy to pour out His blessings not just on me but on anyone and everyone who would accept Him as LORD and Savior. 


If He would use me for His purposes by sending me out to share the glory of His love for all people, the only conflict that stands before me is which shoes to wear.


Today’s Praise


Mark 4:26&27

Jesus also said, “The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground.  Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens. (NLT)

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