“The lazy person buries his hand in the dish and then is too tired to bring it back to the mouth.”
Proverbs 26:15 (NRSV)
My paternal grandfather, Papa, was a vegetable gardener. Each year he would plant an assortment of vegetables. He would plant half runner green beans, Silver Queen corn, yellow crookneck squash, butter beans, okra, tomatoes, English peas (my favorite), red potatoes, Crowder peas, turnip greens, onions, etc. It was years before I appreciated what he did! He worked plowing the field, sowing the seeds, planting the plants, and stringing up the vines. All that work had to be done before picking the produce and preparing it for the table. I really did not become involved in the vegetable garden enterprise until it was time to harvest.
It seemed that there were always more interesting things to do than picking the beans and peas and then shelling or snapping. I remember the bushel baskets sitting on the floor with my grandparents, aunts, parents and me circling around them. It seemed that we would put some pods on sheets of newspaper in our laps and then snap and shell before putting the beans or peas in dishpans. Working as fast as I could, it seemed that the contents of the baskets went down ever so slowly. I wanted to be outside playing or inside watching TV or playing with some toys. In addition to learning the valuable less of how much work it takes to grow a vegetable garden, I also learned a verse from II Thessalonians 3:10, “If anyone will not work, neither let him eat.”
To this day Papa grew the best tasting English peas I have ever eaten! He always planted them, but they never were his best producers. Once the pods had been picked, they needed to be shelled. It was important for me to learn to work and to share the labor of putting food on the table. I wasn’t exactly lazy, because I wanted to do other things, but I did learn to work. I loved those English peas and ate my share and more at my grandparents’ table. The labor involved helped me to appreciate the English peas even more.
Creator God, You have given us so many wonderful delicious foods to enjoy. It takes work for foods to get on our tables. We thank You for our daily bread and for teaching us that working to put food on the table makes it taste even better. Guard us from ever being lazy and help us to appreciate all those around the world who labor on the farms, in the fields, in the processing plants, and in the grocery stores who help us to put food on our tables. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.