My younger son’s plaintive words carried on the wind, over the fence, and the weed slipped from my hand to nestle back in green grass. I poked my head through the fence gate and saw the boys crouched down, focused on the haphazard pile of landscaping rocks in our side yard. Some of the rocks were the size of Chase’s hand, while others were easily 30 pounds.
“I just told you not to move those rocks! Did you kill a poor lizard?”
“We didn’t see him there.”
No, you wouldn’t because he was hiding underneath the pile you weren’t supposed to move.
“Is he dead?” I walked over to investigate, irritated the poor little creature was probably suffering and upset that they’d disobeyed me.
“He’s just laying there.” Cole’s words were wobbly.
Three minutes earlier… Don’t move the rocks. You can hurt yourself or your fingers or toes, and you might squish a lizard.
Winter’s barely audible whisper of cool was a distant echo, and spring was following suit. April had behaved very much like May, and the yard, bushes, and trees were teaming with abundant lizard life. They thrived in the heat. Dark brown, dashing shots of energy dare to race below or just beyond your feet as you walk along sidewalks and parking lots.
Cole and Chase love catching them, gently grasping them in hand and perching them atop their shoulder or head, keeping them as pets for a few minutes. They’ve been doing it since they were 3 or 4, and Cole has a relentless gentleness with the speedy creatures. Chase is learning gentleness, especially since they’re well aware they’ll get in trouble if they’re rough or harmful to the darting dynamos.
“He’s dead! I didn’t mean to kill him but he’s dead!” Chase’s wail cracked through my budding anger, and I squatted down to look at the rock roll casualty. A big gray male lizard lay inert against white rock.
Sowing and reaping.
That morning I taught my 2nd and 3rd graders about Galatians 6:6-10, where the Apostle Paul exhorts the Galatians’, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (7). If we sow seeds of kindness and mercy in our lives, we’ll reap a healthy harvest of kindness and mercy. If we sow seeds of disobedience and bitterness in the field of our lives, we’ll reap sheds full of the same.
In class that morning, we discussed that showing kindness to others, sharing what we have, helping others, and obeying God’s word and our parents are the kind of seeds we should sow in our lives. Sowing disobedience, unkindness, anger, and selfishness will reap a harmful harvest and will separate us from God.
Paul’s words counted as much that day in our backyard as they did 2000 years ago. “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season, we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (9).
I glanced down at Lucky Joe, who looked steadily back at me. I was glad it appeared his lizard life wasn’t on the line. I reminded the boys of the morning’s lesson about sowing and reaping, and asked if they’d heard me tell them not to move the rocks.
“Hmm mmm, yeah.” They mumbled down at the weeds I still needed to pull.
“What did you sow?”
“A dead lizard!” Chase’s voice crackled, and I patted his back.
“You sowed disobedience, and you almost reaped a dead lizard. I know you guys don’t want that, and I know you don’t want to get hurt. That’s why I told you not to move the rocks.”
Cole and Chase spent a while in time-out for disobeying, then had their lizard hunting licenses revoked for the rest of the day. Later, the prior week’s Sunday school lesson about the fruits of the Spirit came to mind. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
If we sow seeds grown in the garden of God’s Holy Spirit, then we’ll reap a harvest that glorifies our Savior and pleases God’s heart.