OPINION

Green: Abundance and the many gifts of the Master Gardener

RENAE GREEN

Y’all. My garden.

This season, my vegetables are over the top. All these years of being a wannabe gardener, and I think I’ve finally arrived. My peppers are having a crazy, out-of-control, call-the-cops party. The cayennes and jalapenos are producing like this is their last chance at life, and the banana peppers have gone, well, bananas. I can’t keep up with the tomatoes, which means my chickens eat organic, gourmet salad every single day.

Renae Green column

I have cantaloupes and Golden Honey melons, cucumbers and squash, okra and so many black-eyed peas, my thumbs are sore from the shelling, and my family groans every day when I bring more in. And because I’ve lost my ever-lovin' mind, I just planted pumpkin, more squash, cauliflower and broccoli.

I hardly have time to pick the garden, much less deal with it once it lands on my kitchen counter. My freezer is filled with frozen treasure, waiting for winter when the pickings are slim. My food processor/slicer/dicer has more than paid for itself, as has the vacuum sealer I got for Christmas last year.

Plus, I’ve created something from scratch that I never thought I’d do. I made homemade cayenne pepper, all sealed up in a pretty jar with a label. Are you impressed? You should be. I am.

All this surplus has left me feeling quite generous. I’ve given away bags of groceries. The more I give away, the more my garden makes, and it just won’t stop. In the midst of all this bounty, I’ve collected and dried seeds for next year.

One day last week, as I scraped dozens (hundreds?) of seeds out of a single okra, I realized just how generous God is with us. One tiny seed can bring forth countless more seeds, thousands upon thousands, as it grows and produces fruit. Not only will my garden have plenty for years to come, but the birds and animals sneak in for secret snacks, then deliver seeds all over the county and beyond. In His wisdom, God made sure we all have more than enough.

I wish I knew more ways to spread the bounty to those who need it. Our county alone has many food banks and resources to make sure no one goes hungry. The problem is, many don’t know about these places. So they huddle in their homes or their cars, bellies aching and growling, thinking there’s nothing for them to eat. Thinking there’s no hope.

God is generous, but we have an enemy who wants us to starve. He wants to destroy us, so he shows up as that voice in our heads and lies. He tells us there’s no hope. He tells us we’re destined to go hungry for food or love or compassion or kindness or whatever we’re lacking. So we huddle up inside our shells and we suffer, thinking things won’t change. Thinking it will never get better.

All around us, people are famished for a touch of God’s love, His kindness, His compassion. He’s planted those seeds inside of each of us, and it’s our job to spread it around, to give life to the very things that will give life to others. Each day, we have countless opportunities to nourish those around us. And I have to ask myself... am I hoarding my seeds, or am I spreading them? Today and every day, I want to be generous. I want to act on the abundance God has shown me, and share the bounty of His love with everyone I meet.

“Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness,” 2 Corinthians 9:10.

Renae Brumbaugh Green is a bestselling author and award-winning humor columnist. She lives in Stephenville with her handsome, country-boy husband, nearly perfect children, and far-too-many animals. Connect with Renae at www.RenaeBrumbaugh.co