I’ve been on a journey the past several months to start homestead living, however slowly it may grow, to provide a more sustainable life for my family. This process has included the switch to making just about all our food from scratch, downsizing possessions and disposable expenses, and decreasing our commitments outside of our time together. But it’s also involved using every bit of land we can get our hands on, building some new garden beds and revamping some old ones at my parents’ house over the summer. And foraging and gleaning in other local gardens and forests as it has been available.
So my parent’s neighbor has a hefty vegetable garden that borders the backyard and she planted some bean stalks right up against the fence for my youngest son to be able to pick and eat them over the summer. But now that the growing season has ended, there was a scraggly, overgrown bean pod dangling the other evening I picked and proceeded to remove the four beans inside. For the remainder of the evening I held them in my hand periodically and looked at them with gratitude to God as this realization hit me…
God’s Abundant Provision
After pondering these little beans, the beautiful simplicity of God’s abundant provisions really hit me. There is so much of it all around us in plain sight, but it’s so often missed or taken for granted. From these four little beans that I got for free that would have likely ended up as compost, I can save them and plant them in the spring to produce four new beanstalks and likely enough green beans to can and last my family for a while. What a sweet gift. All I have to do is get my hands a little dirty and give a little time to tend them. So this got me thinking even deeper about how so many people have lost sight of what true abundance looks like and the value of good hard work.
“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” – Genesis 2:15
When God created Adam in the garden, one thing He created Adam to do was to tend the land and care for the animals with Eve as his helpmeet. Yes, before the fall, God created us to work, not as a burden to us, but as a gift. And I’m really beginning to see the gift of good hard work that I had shrugged off in my younger years. I love the fact that God has laid out such a simple plan for us all to follow. Not always easy, but simple when we slow down and follow His lead.
Blessings for Obedience
“And the Lord will make you abound in prosperity, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your livestock and in the fruit of your ground, within the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. The Lord will open to you his good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands. And you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.” – Deuteronomy 28:11-12
Deuteronomy 28 is an explanation of the consequences of both obedience and disobedience to God. A harsh truth to some, but for those walking with the Lord, the message of provision and abundance for the faithful servants of God is clear. But there’s something specific I notice about the words in this passage… the abundant provision involved comes through a blessing on our labor upon the land with the resources that He has given us. God says that for the obedient servant, He will bless the work of our hands and make it fruitful.
What a beautiful picture of abundance, beyond the useless worldly treasures so many seek, but instead of something so satisfyingly simple. These four little beans are a picture of promise that will continue to encourage us day after day as we move forward with this change of lifestyle for our family and press in deeper and deeper to our lives in Christ.