“Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.”
They are healthy. They are a great texture. They are a bright colour.
So why, might you ask, am I complaining about my peppers?
And I am. I really am.
Let me start at the beginning.
Way back in the spring, I night a couple of packs of peppers at a local greenhouse. I wanted a few jalapeños for salsa – check. A few bell peppers for fresh eating – check. And a few Hungarian wax peppers – the yellow pointy type – for jazzing up salads and recipes.
(Still with me? Great!)
Fast forward to fridge pickle season. I have a glut of cucumbers, and I turn to an old recipe of my sister-in-law’s to use them up in a way that doesn’t require canning or processing in the heat wave. I make the brine – with a few modifications, since I already had a batch of brine in the fridge for an earlier batch of dill bean pickles. I add cucumbers. I add onion. I add a fresh yellow pepper.
A few hours later, I’m wondering.
What if the brine wasn’t strong enough? We’re the proportions right? Since I had monkeyed with the recipe, I felt a taste test was in order. I grabbed a spoon and took a little slurp.
There is something – amiss.
My lips are burning.
Scratch that. My lips are on fire.
What the – ?
I search my brain. What on earth did I add that made it so spicy? I mentally scroll through every ingredient. None of these should have given it that kind of kick.
Then it hits me.
The yellow pepper.
I dig through the container and find a slice. I tentatively try it.
My face is ablaze. Yes, that would be it. But why would the peppers I’ve grown for years suddenly decide to burn my face off?
I remove the peppers from the batch. No harm, no foul. I caught it early enough. I go about my business.
But it’s bugging me.
It’s really burning my britches.
I head out to stare at the pepper plants. They look just like they have for the past five years. What gives?
My eyes catch a small gleam of white.
A tag! I stuck the plant tag in the ground! Smart me.
I check the tag.
I had planted hot banana peppers.
They had good reason to be – caliente. Hot. Spicy.
Rather reminds me of this verse in Galatians.
See, I had myself a harvest hazard – a heaping helping of hotter than Hades peppers, a smoking front seat on the spice train.
Just reaping what I had sown, in fact.
And isn’t that like life?
We may not intend to plant seeds of doubt, mistrust, bitterness, or complaint – but we grab the package so quickly we don’t even read the label. We plunk things into our lives Willy-nilly, and freak out when we get a harvest that isn’t what we bargained for.
What to do?
Now that I know I’ve got a hotter than Hades harvest out there, I am changing my game plan. I’ll try some hot pepper jelly. I’ll be sparing with the quantities I add to dishes. I’ll give some away to folks who like their food on the spicy side.
And I’ll sure check the labels when buying peppers next year…
The lesson here?
Use caution when making any investments in your life. You may not be bargaining on a hotter than Hades harvest down the road. But plant a worry, and harvest anxiety. Plant a critical attitude, and reap a bitter spirit. Plant any bad habit, and watch the resulting harvest get too hot to handle.
We will always harvest exactly what we plant.
Be choosy with what you plant into your life with me?
Father, it is so easy for us to carelessly add a thought pattern, an attitude, a word, an action, a habit that can derail what You want to build into us. Help us to be very mindful of what we plant in order to harvest good, healthy, and beautiful character traits down the road. Amen.