Monday, June 29, 2009

Thinning the beets

Still rubbing the sleep from our eyes, we leaned on our garden hoes in the early morning cool as Dad gave his annual description of how to thin the crop. Dad was a sugar beet farmer and, in those days, the technology didn’t yet place each little beet seed at the proper distance from the others.

So they had to be thinned.

“It might be hard to take out a healthy plant,” he told us, “but if it’s right beside another plant, neither one will grow well. They’ll both steal from the other and we won’t get much from either.”

So we learned to pluck a plant when it crowded in on another. We pulled healthy plants to make room for less hearty ones, because the lessor one was in the right place to grow well. And, given the room to get sunlight and water, those usually caught up quickly.

We had to anticipate how large that sugar beet would one day become, and leave room for that growth.

I was thinking about the same thing yesterday as I thinned some carrots in my garden.

“You thinned the carrots??” my daughter said. “I like carrots.”

“That’s why I did it. Those carrots were like grass, too thick to grow very large,” I told her.

But really, yesterday, I was thinking about priorities. I have been guilty in my life of being unwilling to thin my crop. I allowed activities and interests to crowd in on me, to steal away time and resources.

The activities often looked healthy and good.

But what I’m trying to learn is, like crops that need thinned, too many activities keep any from becoming mature.

You don’t get a good crop from carrot grass.

But seek first the kingdom of God

Matt 6:33

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