Happiness: A Parable

One year a farmer decided he wanted to have a harvest of happiness in the fall.  So in April he went out and prepared a new field by clearing out the rocks and old roots. He used a tiller to turn over the soil and break up the fallow ground. It required a lot of labor, sweat and time. He added some lime to sweeten the soil and create the right ph balance for growing happiness. Then he bowed his head and thanked God for giving him the understanding, strength and energy he needed to be a good farmer.

Next he laid out the rows with strings to be sure they were straight and even. Then he piled up the fresh dirt in mounded rows. Now it was finally time to actually plant the tiny, fragile seeds with a cup of water in each hole. He bowed his head, asked God to bless the work of his hands. 

Within just a few weeks, weeds began to sprout up in his freshly planted garden. The farmer knew now his regular task was to walk down each row and gently rake out the unwanted weeds. These unsightly visitors would rob the happiness plants of nutrition and much needed water. If allowed to stay, they would take over the garden all together choking out the happiness plants. All through the summer the farmer was faithful to water his tender growing plants, rake out the ugly weeds and spray for pesky bugs. He watched the plants grow taller each week producing new leaves and delicate blossoms. One day tiny happiness fruit would grow each place where a blossom had been. He bowed his head and thanked God for sending the much needed rain and sunshine.

Finally, in late October the dutiful farmer went out to inspect his fruit laden garden. He had tended his garden faithfully all spring and summer and had done all that was required to produce a harvest of happiness. He hand picked each gorgeous, red, round piece of fruit and took them into his home to process for storing. He smiled with a humble sense of satisfaction and sat down at the kitchen table to enjoy the fruit of his labors. He bowed his head and gave thanks to God for his bountiful harvest.

The moral of this parable is that true happiness that satisfies the longing of our soul requires long, hard sacrificial work to produce. First, it requires that we sow seeds of happiness in our garden before we can reap a harvest. It requires faithful applications of love and protection from harmful attitudes and behaviors. But most of all, it requires the grace of God watching over us to make it happen. For without the grace, peace and love of the Lord Jesus Christ-- in us, we can do nothing good in ourselves.

Ultimately, happiness is a gift from God when we surrender to His will and plan for our life. It is His hand of blessing on everything we do. He desires to watch over us and live among us—Emanuel. He wants to put his Holy Spirit in us which produces righteous fruit in our personality and character. Then we can manifest His fruit in our relationships with others.

Galatians 6:7, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

God’s spiritual law of sowing and reaping works in our life whether we acknowledge it or not. If we choose to ignore it, we will reap the destructive consequences. If we choose to work with it, we can reap the bountiful benefits. Amen. 

Pat James, 03/18/09