A lot of people from the lower '48 are quite surprised
when they come up here
to find we can grow vegetables. What a mix-up of information! In Asia
people want to know if I live in an igloo, if we have ice and snow all the
time, if the penguins are really that cute. (I wouldn't know...since I never
have seen one...they live in the Antarctic down south).
But back to vegetables...we can grow all the root
crops; potatoes, beets, carrots, etc. And also cabbages. They are
exposed to long days of sunlight when summer arrives, so they grow extremely
fast and LARGE. And one of the highlights of the year is that in the
fall, when Fair time arrives, there is a contest to see who can grow the
largest cabbage. This year a woman won it, having grown a cabbage over
100 lbs!! Now THAT is a large cabbage!!
Back in the springtime I thought I would give that
a try when my friend and fellow-gardener Ellen gave me one of those hybrid
giants she had started in her greenhouse. I planted the thing where
it would take advantage of southern sun and below the bluff on my property so
that winds would not be a problem either. I bought slug poison. I
bought the right fertilizer, and when I saw how they
fed the thing, I inserted a plastic pipe down near
the roots so that I could water it every day and it would go directly into
that plant. Neat! Every day we would watch that cabbage...it began
to expand and soon there was a nice round ball with lovely, lacy-green leaves
delighting my eyes.
As it progressed, I became very proud of my
accomplishment. I was not thinking I could possibly grow the prize
cabbage that year, as we had planted it rather late and it was my first
attempt, but I was proud of it and loved to show it off. If you came to
visit my house, you were shown the cabbage before I offered you coffee! Wal-Mart's
had one growing in front of their nursery store...and there was never a visit
there that didn't make me prouder...mine was much bigger, much prettier!
Summer flew by rather quickly and one day (after a
big rain) I looked, and it had almost doubled overnight! Wow!
Ellen and I ran for the camera and got our "official photographs"
taken so that we could further gloat. Then we attended the Fair, and eyed
all entries as if we were the judges themselves. "I should
have entered mine...mine was much bigger and nicer", were my thoughts.
What to do with the giant cabbage? Well, we
decided on a day to cut the thing and weigh it. My thoughts were that I could
not possibly lift it myself, so it would take maybe a couple of men to do it.
I would then take it to my friend Rose, who would probably make enough sauerkraut
to last all winter.
The day arrived for the ceremonial cutting.
I was inside the house with guests Ellen and I had picked up in
Talkeetna...tourists...three lovely ladies. And of course they must
first see my cabbage! Ellen bounded down the hill...and yelled.
"MARY! THE CABBAGE IS GONE!" Oh no!! I rushed
outside on my deck, leaned over the edge, and saw that the nice big lacy outer
leaves were still there, but in the center...no cabbage!! A moose
had come by!
I couldn't believe it! All summer long,
never a moose! Here we had waited and waited, and no moose.
But on the very day of the grand finale...a moose! An
un-Christian thought drifted across my mind..."hope he is suffering
with a belly full of gas over it!"
The very next day I walked outside and there in my
"pasture" was the culprit! He was looking at me...staring me
down. A nice young bull! Almost intimidating me with a smug ness
that said "Hee Hee...I ate your cabbage!!" I ran out
waving my arms to send him running away. Instead, he came charging at
ME! So I rushed back into the house, breathless with thanks to my Lord
that I made it before he ate ME! That was the last time I saw him.
So what was all that useless effort for? To
teach me a nice lesson...and you know what it is. That when we get our
eyes focused upon things of the world and they become our obsession and pride,
we forget how quickly it can disappear in an instant, devoured by the enemy.
While I was waiting for my glorious achievement to impress my friends and
fuel my ego, God had decided to feed one of his "birds" with
We may think...how uncaring can God get?
Didn't He see all my efforts? Didn't He appreciate my hard work?
How could He let that moose come along to dash my crowning moment? But you
see, even that dumb moose had God's attention and love too.
Wasn't I worth more than a dumb moose? Yes, I was
worth more...but my vanity was not. He showed me just how worthy I was
by letting the moose eat my efforts, and my efforts eat me.
That's what happens so often in our lives...we
easily get focused on trivial pursuits that can lead to dead ends. We
can live our entire lives without seeking first the kingdom of God and His
righteousness, drifting off along, day by day, for that elusive goal of life's
rewards...and see all our toil vanish in seconds. Planting a cabbage
was not wrong...but my motives were. I see now that God uses futility to
bring us to accept His plans and show us that He alone is to be honored
in all things.
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