Building and planting

After a remarkably cold winter, spring feels extra sweet this year. For our household, it’s time to plant and time for a significant home improvement project.  

When it comes to planting, Abbie and I are still in the “dabbler” category, although we’re getting better at it. We have a garden plot tilled up in the back yard (thanks Fred S) and so far we have onions, sugar snap peas, and lettuce in the ground, along with a rhubarb plant we just received, and garlic from last fall. It’s all starting to grow.

The main home improvement project for the year is installing a new kitchen. After tearing out a dividing wall between the kitchen and dining room right when we moved into the house, the arrangement has felt kind of in-between, and now it’s time to change the whole floor plan with new cabinets and countertops. We made a trip to Ikea last Monday and our entire new kitchen is sitting in flat packed boxes in the garage waiting for our efforts to assemble and install them.

And therein lays (lies?) the difference between planting and building. I’ve done more building in my life than planting, and one of the things that never ceases to amaze me about planting is how the seed carries within it a life of its own and, given the right conditions and occasional care, grows and produces on its own. But those boxed up cabinets will not assemble or install themselves. Every inch of progress on that project will come because of our own efforts.

People often speak of “building the Kingdom of God,” but I can’t find where Jesus ever used that language. He did speak of it as something that grows, like a seed. And there is a profound difference between thinking about the Kingdom of God as something that we build, or something that is planted and grows through a life of its own, for which we need only to prepare the proper conditions, and tend. And be amazed.