Becoming a Zucchini Farmer

I’ve found my calling, my true gift and talent—growing zucchini.  So, I’m contemplating a new life as a zucchini farmer.

When we planned this mini-garden of ours, my daughters announced that they must grow and eat their own food.  They wanted to plant and watch it grow, pick it with pride and then serve it up with dinner.

Not knowing how well we could produce food we actually eat like tomatoes and cucumbers, I planted two spindly little zucchini sprouts in the garden.  I’d seen many fellow church-goers hand out this cucumber wannabe to worshipers leaving the sanctuary.  “Would you like some?  Please, take it home!  We’re drowning in the stuff.”  So, I thought this must be one sure-fire vegetable to grow in our garden in case our other plants didn’t do well.

I didn’t expect that much success, just a guaranteed one or two veggies that my daughters could pose with in pictures and be proud about growing.

And then this one plant grew to monumental proportions and began producing mammoth zucchini.  I frantically began asking everyone I met, “How do you actually eat this stuff?”  Because we didn’t eat it, not often anyway.  I had no recipes for zucchini and whenever anyone said, “zucchini bread,” I stared at this zucchini the size of my daughter’s torso and wondered how that gets mixed up in a way appropriate for the bread pan.

Apparently others are having this problem.  I’ve begun noticing little carts loaded down with zucchini and squash just pushed out to the roadside in front of people’s houses.  These aren’t farmers trying to earn a living off their land.  These are women like me who have run through the entire Food Network recipe book on zucchini and still have some to spare.

This zucchini overload has me asking one question—what’s the point? What’s the point of having abundance if you don’t use it?  Sitting in my refrigerator or on my counter looking green and huge, this zucchini is pointless.  It is designed and intended for nourishment. Unused, it will rot and go to waste.

My question extends out to issues of faith.  What’s the point of spiritual gifts buried deep and hidden away?  God gives them to us, perhaps we even cultivate and harvest them. Then we let them sit unused.  Or perhaps we grow mystery vegetables in our garden, never actually identifying them.  Yes, we have gifts, but not knowing what they are, we simply pick the fruit, place it on the counter and toss into the garbage the rotten results over time.

While building the tabernacle, Moses instructed the Israelites: “Come, all of you who are skilled craftsmen, having special talents, and construct what God has commanded us” (Exodus 35:10 TLB).  That remains God’s desire—we apply our talents to God’s service, to the building of His ministry, His dwelling place, and His body.

What’s the Point of Knowledge?

Then there is also knowledge and discipleship.  What’s the point of study without application and life change?

I’m a student at heart.  To me, learning is fun simply in its own right.  I never in my life sat in a college class and tuned the teacher out because, “it was a pointless class that I’d never need in real life.”

Thus, it’s tempting for me to study and study and study the word of God, writing notes and filling my brain with knowledge.  There’s danger there, though.  Danger that my focus will be on learning and not on my Savior.  Danger that knowledge itself will actually become my god.  Danger that I’ll fill my head full of fascinating facts and never once experience life change in the down and dirty parts of my heart that need cleaning out.

It’s why at the beginning of almost every Bible Study I look around the group and say the same thing, “My goal here is application.  If we talk about not worrying and then go home and worry just as much as ever, we’re not achieving anything.”  What we study must become what we do.

Paul wrote to the Colossians, a church that had fallen into the danger zone, pursuing knowledge and learning to the exclusion of God:

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ (Colossians 2:8).

They had become so excited about gaining knowledge, they had failed to filter what they were “learning.”  Not every book you read that quotes Scripture is actually scriptural.  It takes discernment rooted in God’s Word to determine the difference.

In his letter to Timothy, Paul declared that people had devoted

“themselves to myths and endless genealogies.  Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm  (1 Timothy 1:3-7).

So, what’s the point?  When we’ve written down the original Greek of a word in Scripture and we’ve taken notes on our favorite preacher’s sermon, when we’ve copied whole devotionals into our journal and highlighted our book . . . then what?

We grow.  We know God rather than just know ABOUT God.  That’s the point.  Paul prayed for the Colossians that God would “fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives” (Colossians 1:9).

If we’re reading without changing, listening without growing, learning without transformation, then it’s pointless abundance–a garden full of unusable fruit gone to waste as it rots on the vine.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2011 Heather King

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