Just looking at this picture, even though it was taken a while back, still stirs up feelings of disappointment. It was just a garden, but I worked hard on this little patch of dirt. It was my first attempt at gardening. The area where I planted was next to the fence in our backyard. I had tilled the ground, planted seeds, watered and pulled the weeds from around it. I checked on my little garden every day. My plants were thriving nicely. There were squash, green onions and carrots.
One day, I heard dogs barking in my backyard. Surprised (because we don’t have a dog), I looked out the back door and saw my backyard neighbors’ dog sitting in my garden patch. He had jumped from his yard into mine – right onto my little patch of sunshine. He was attempting to jump back across the fence into his yard, but was unable to do so, and kept attempting which meant he stomped all over my sweet little plants.
After the dog was safely back in his yard, I slowly walked up to my garden. All I was left with was a ruined, trampled garden that stunk like dog.
It occurred to me that in ministry there are times this same thing will happen in our work. We prepare the soil (loving on the people we minister to), we plant seeds (sharing the Gospel with them), we will see God moving in their lives and we see spiritual growth. Then, the enemy rears his head. Satan goes to church every Sunday – he uses a weak vessel to come and try to trample the work that we have prayed over, the time spent and the care we have given seems to be ineffective. You know what I am talking about, and it is in those moments that we have to ask God to forgive us for our negative thoughts.
Just like the day my garden was squashed. I was so mad at that dog. I wanted to call the police. But, I had to let it go, because it would not have done any good to complain and make my neighbor mad at me. It worked out a few months later anyway, when the neighbors found a new place to live.
It is the same with God. He is our defender. He is our inspiration. He is our refuge. He asks us to leave things to Him and in His time, He will take care of it. Our job is to to just keep sowing, planting, reaping, serving, loving and caring for people.
I am always encouraged when I read in 2 Timothy, chapter 1 where Paul encouraged Timothy to fan the flame of the gifts God had given him, and to not be ashamed to testify to the Gospel.
My friends, do not despair, do not be discouraged. The growth may be trampled on, but the soil is still good, and the seed is still there. You might ask if I ever planted another garden. Yes, yes I sure did – and this time it was far away from the fence, and it is thriving well.
Keep praying, keep studying, keep encouraging, keep searching, keep listening. Don’t give up, God has a job that only you can do. He has already given you everything you need to complete that task. He is faithful and He is able!
“But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” Exodus 9:16
Kristi Bean, wife of Donald Bean, has been in ministry with her husband for the past 27 years. They currently serve at Calvary Baptist Church in Nederland and have been there for 15 years. Kristi also works full-time as Ministry Assistant to the Pastor of First Baptist Church of Nederland. They have three grown and married children, Ashley, Amanda and Mikeal; sons-in-law Jamey and Ricky and daughter-in-law, Judy. Kristi loves spending time with her “Sweet Bean” husband and family, reading, teaching and mentoring.