TALES FROM THE GARDEN 2 - The Earthworm Company
By Elizabeth Adekanmi
Spring is fast giving way to summer! Avid gardeners would have been at work in their gardens for some time now. Just about now, the evidence of their weeks of careful planning and planting will be peeping out of the soil. So many things work together to make this possible. There are also unseen or not so obvious contributors or workers involved in the process. For example, rain, sunlight, microorganisms, decomposing agents and the seed itself. One of such not so obvious contributor is the earthworm. It’s this organism we’ll be looking at in this write up.
Our Lord Jesus is in the habit of using what people are familiar with to pass across what He wants to teach them. He chooses as His object lesson or teaching aid what people are already seeing and engaging with to bring them to the understanding of eternal truth. Scriptures in places will call our attention to observe God’s creation for specified lessons:
Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Pro 6:6
Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the Lord.
Likewise, following this example, let’s take a trip to the garden and pay attention to the humble earthworm. Earthworms are not glamorous creatures that are especially loved by humans, infact, many us pay them no attention. Yet they play an important role in our ecosystem. Without going into too much scientific jargon, this organism break down dead and decaying leaves helping to release their nutrient back to the soil. Their activities improve soil structure, aerating the soil and improving drainage. What is then the lesson to pick up from them?
The first lesson is the fact that they are silent labourers. They silently carry on their God given roles without drawing attention to themselves or asking for reward. How much we need this attribute! How we need the Lord to take away the restlessness within, the attention seeking, praise craving thing within us. This problem is the reason we feel offended when our effort is not rewarded or recognised. You will notice that even in our churches, there will be more people willing to be ushers or serve in the choir than those volunteering to be sanctuary cleaners. It is the same reason why someone barely commune with God privately; no quite time but she is present in every prayer room there is. Let’s consider these words of Jesus:
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
Is this to say the Lord Jesus is against corporate prayers? Not at all, reading the entire chapter and taking it in context, we will see how He laid before us the need for and how to cultivate the virtues of the Christian life. He instructed us to do so without public announcement or away from public view. Why? So we don’t miss the reward He gives.
Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. Matt 6: 2
To overcome this restless, we must be willing to lay our actions before the Lord and allow Him examine our hearts for the real reasons behind them. He calls us to consciously question our motive. Once revealed to us, we must not excuse or explain them away. We must respond with repentance whether the next door neighbour feels it’s necessary or not. If we are sincere with the Lord, He will arise with healing on His wings for our internal woes.
Secondly, unlike the slug, they are not destructive. The slug not only eats into your vegetable but will also leave a trail of shining slime behind. Earthworms don’t attack living plants. Even their waste which is called Worm casting not only nourish the plants but also sustain other beneficial microorganism. May our presence bring life to everywhere God will have us be. When we walk through the produce aisle at the supermarket and see those leafy greens and salad leaves, none of us think of the earthworm. We select the best ones in the basket and that’s as much thought as we give to the item. These humble creatures seek no reward yet enriching others. This we must seek the Lord to make out of our lives. It must be an on-going request because the battle within and the temptation without are ongoing.
I commend us to God as we seek Him for grace to live an overcoming Christian life.