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The Saturday Journal: Strong Roots. Deep Roots. Fruit that Matters.

She was preparing to end her life–making plans. It would be self-induced. She just couldn’t live like she was living anymore. Life had gotten too hard. Depression had dug its ugly claws in deep. 

She noticed one day there was something different about the pumpkin she had thrown out a few days earlier. The gift that was once beautiful--now lay still--the flowers dry and dying. Until she looked closer, and saw the tiniest sprout--it had begun to grow. 

From a pumpkin or flower seed, perhaps? She took care of the sprout–watered it. And she watched as it grew from something that was close to death to a flourishing plant. But then something happened. It died. And she thought just maybe I can plant other seeds–flowers, and that’s when she decided to plant a garden.  

The first time I heard the story of Shammah, one of King David’s mighty men was at a fundraising event.  Former Appalachian State football coach Jerry Moore stood on center stage.  There were about 200 people there and when he told this story, you could have heard a pin drop.  Coach Moore’s message was about doing more than what was expected.  You see, Shammah stood in the middle of a field of beans–of lentils–and defended the field. And single-handedly he defeated the Philistines. Now, tell me, pray tell, why would anyone risk their very life for a field of beans?  This field of beans was more than just greenery and a few lentils. It meant more to the people–it was food, survival, a source of income. It was their ground and more. It was worth defending.  (Shammah's story is found in 2 Samuel 23:11-12)

Every single one of us has a garden–a field.  And it may not be a garden where we grow flowers or even vegetables or a field of wheat or corn or one where cows graze.  But each of us has areas in our lives that we have been entrusted with–fields of nurture–fields of dreams–goals–growth–compassion--fields of service.

So how is it we are taking care of our gardens–our fields? Are they fertile or are they dormant, bare, uncultivated, unplowed? Hosea 10:12 (KJV) says, Break up your fallow ground.  

What special gifts have we been given to nurture–to grow? Who’s in our gardens?  In our fields? Have we been given children, grandchildren–other loved ones–family members–friends-–strangers? Have we been given a role in our careers–in our communities–in our churches--to make a difference in the lives of others? 

The answer is YES. To all the questions.

I saw a young man this week offer kindness to an elderly woman.  He watched her as she went toward the steps of the pool.  And he quickly got out of the pool and stood at the top of the steps and offered her a hand.  The gentle kindness of a boy who was at least seven decades younger–this woman was taken back for a moment as he reached for her hand–and then she reached for his. 

This eleven-year old–he’s learning–doing acts of kindness for others–growing in his field–in his garden.

And on the other end sat a grandmother watching her three grandchildren play in the pool. She smiled often and I am certain the seeds she is sowing in their lives–in her garden–the children will remember for a lifetime--a ripple effect for their own children and grandchildren.

The gardens and fields we are given--this holy ground–the choice is ours-- of how or if we will plant our seeds.

And the lady's pumpkin with the flowers–somebody dropped that very pumpkin seed in the ground–somebody dug in the dirt--filling row by row--watering the tiniest of flower seeds. Somebody’s hands cut the flowers and carefully placed them inside the pumpkin creating an art of beauty. And the love of somebody's compassionate heart gave this woman a gift that would help change the very trajectory of her life.  

All these “somebodies” tended to their gardens–each one with a different sort of garden–never knowing the difference they were making or how powerful the seeds would become. But God knew. 

And this woman who was planning her end, began her life again. It has not been easy. She has worked diligently and sowed and watered seeds and plants. She’s experienced living and experienced dying–she's had successes and she's had failures. And through it all, her field still blooms. And now, her beautiful garden–the doors are open, welcoming others to come, and spend a little time among the flowers. 


Dear God,

Thank you for my garden--my field

God, I pray for blossoms in my garden

I pray for strong roots--deep roots

I pray for fruit--fruit that matters

I pray for a harvest

A harvest of seeing--listening--and doing

I pray for a river in my garden--in my field

One that flows slow and quiet with the largest of ripples,

for the ebbing of the flow--the strumming of my heart

to touch the hearts of the hurting

The hearts that need a lift--

to see a better right now,

as well as hope for tomorrow.

And for them to know they are

Always, loved.


According to the National Institutes of Mental Health (NAMI), more than 1 in 5 Americans live with a mental illness, ranging from anxiety and depression to other serious mental health disorders.


So many people suffer alone--in battles we know nothing about.

We all need and can do better. Check on friends--loved ones.

And please, please if you need help, reach out to someone.


A humble and heartfelt thank you for reading The Saturday Journal.

My prayer is to share The Saturday Journal every Saturday or at least bi-weekly--

 and the stories shared here in this space will bless you in some small way.

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