The old fable comes to mind as I busily work in the kitchen, preserving what is in season now for enjoyment and nourishment in the months to come. It's an immense amount of work, to be sure, but the satisfaction of seeing the jars pile up and the freezer grow full are worth it.
I'm ashamed to admit that it hasn't always been so for me. Many years ago when I was a young teenager, probably around 13 or so, my family grew a tremendous garden. My mother worked practically around the clock planting, weeding, canning and freezing. My grandparents pitched in, too. It was an enormous task to feed six people, and my mother sought to lighten the grocery bill by growing her own food. My brothers and I didn't see the value in what she was doing, and very seldom helped; usually only when we were made to.
With regret, I recall a time when my mother asked us to pick and shell peas. We were in a hurry to get done so we could have some fun. Swimming? Fishing? I really don't remember now what we wanted to do, but I do remember that we only shelled half of the peas, hiding the full pods under those that were already broken, and trying to sneak them to the pigs. Only, my mother knew that we had gotten done too quickly, and caught us in the act. Needless to say, she was none too happy with us.
I'm now the mother of four, trying to stretch the grocery dollars each week. Eating well isn't inexpensive. Fresh fruits and vegetables come with a high price tag. I can't imagine the anger and disappointment I would feel if my own children acted the way that I had.
They say what goes around comes around, but I'm happy to tell you that isn't always true! For the most part, my children help my husband and me with the gardening without being asked. They've taken an interest in growing things and helping to provide for our family, and this has blessed me beyond measure, all the while making me feel guilty for my old ways.
I now have 4 batches of strawberry jam on the shelf, and several gallon bags full of frozen berries. Each sweet bite represents togetherness. My children have already learned what took me far too long to understand.
Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.
2 Thessalonians 3:6-12