A Pea Pickin’ Labrador

Tis the season to harvest sugar peas.  The warm weather has brought a bumper crop to my small garden.  My Labrador faithfully follows me as I pick them.  She knows that for every handful I drop into the bucket, I will drop at least one pod into her mouth.  

One morning, while peering at me through the pea wire, my dog discovered a large juicy pod hanging at eye level.  I noticed her staring at it.  Now Adi has been watching me pick sugar peas her entire life.  She is well acquainted with the shape and smell of a ripe sugar pea and knows they are pulled off a vine.  So, I challenged her to try picking it for herself.  “Go ahead girl.  You can have it,” I said.  She hesitated.  “Go ahead,” I encouraged.  

I figured the most my Lab would do is continue staring at it in hopes I would pick it for her. To my delight, she sniffed the pod, then gave it a good lick.  Satisfied that it was indeed a tasty sugar pea, she angled her head just right and reached out with her front teeth, gingerly nipping the pod off the vine.  A “crunch, crunch” followed.  I beamed at my pup and patted her on the head.  This would be the first of many sugar peas Adi would pick.   

Working in the garden gives me time to think, and I found myself reflecting on my pea picking Labrador.  She’s proven that she doesn’t need every pea handed to her. She has the tools at her disposal to accomplish the task- a nose, tongue, teeth, and appetite for sugar peas.  It made me think of a challenge the Lord gave me some years back- to begin to glean the fruit of Biblical text for myself rather than relying solely on others to hand it to me.  The author of Hebrews puts it this way,

You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food”

Hebrews 5:12, NLT

With the guidance of the women’s ministry director at my church, I began to collect and learn how to use various reference tools that would help me dig into the Word.  These tools include cross references, dictionaries, and commentaries.  Although most are books, which is my preferred form of media, I have found some excellent online tools as well. (See post script for a list).

Just as Adi watches me more intently as I pick sugar because she knows I’ll point to a pod and give her permission to glean it for herself, I find that I now pay closer attention to the prompting of the Holy Spirit as I read the Bible.  Often, I sense His nudge to stop and reap a deeper understanding of a particular verse or passage.  Before I pull out my reference tools, I prayerfully ask the Lord for wisdom and guidance (Luke 24:45, John 14:26).

I’ll be honest this process takes time and effort.  It would be a whole lot easier to let my favorite pastors and writers do all the work and hand-feed me the fruit of their labor.  However, the fruit of my own labor deepens my love for the Lord which in turn prompts me to want to share what I learn with others.  It also strengthens my foundation in God’s Word.  That foundation is reinforced and enriched as I read or listen to the teaching of other laborers. 

I close with Solomon’s words and the hope that you too are laboring in the Word and gleaning the fruit of truth it offers.

“My son if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom, and applying your heart to understanding and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” 

Proverbs 2:1-6

© 2019-2021, Lessons from a Lab, Beth Alisan.  All Rights Reserved.

Post Script

If you have a favorite book or online reference tool, please take a moment and tell me about it in the comment section.

Online Resources

Book Resources

26 thoughts on “A Pea Pickin’ Labrador

    1. Thank you Gary! Sorry it took so long to respond. We just returned from our annual fishing trip to the mountain with my father and brothers. Two weeks enjoying the splendor of God’s creation along with the fellowship of family, miles of hiking trails, a lake filled with sunnies and bass eager to take a bite, and no internet or news access does wonders for the mind and heart.

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      1. It was. I’m so grateful my nieces graduation extended our trip and gave us a couple of days with with extended family before venturing on to the cabin. We were all surprised at how quickly the time melted away. We’re looking forward to next year.

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  1. I love that, The Fruit of my own labor, does help me to love Him more. 🙂 My little dogs loves picking her own carrots out of the garden. She claws at them and pulls them up and eats them right there.

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  2. We harvested our first few peas yesterday and they were quickly gobbled by my husband. Your lab reminds me of the wonderful learning years we had with our chocolate. I always say he taught me the meaning of the word “adore” because of his love for and faithfulness to my husband. Thank you for a beautiful post encouraging us to study God’s word more.

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    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed this post and that it brought back memories of your chocolate Lab! You’re absolutely right. Labs truly embody the word adore and faithfulness. Enjoy your pea harvest. Nothing beats sun warmed peas that go straight from the shell and into the mouth.

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  3. scribelady

    Adi reminds me of Bridget, a poodle we had. We used to have wild black raspberry bushes and blackberry bushes growing along the yard. Bridget walked with us and picked berries to eat. She always picked ripe ones!

    A comment on reading/ studying the Bible: When I find something God left for me, it makes it “mine” more than when I hear a pastor speak it.

    I’ll look at Bible Gateway and the other resources; I’ve heard of it but never took time to really look at it.

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing the story of Bridget and her berry picking. She has good taste. Nothing beats the taste of sun ripened black raspberries. I love your comment, “When I find something God left for me, it makes it “mine” more than when I hear a pastor speak it.” You are absolutely correct.

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  4. Beth I just love your wee Adi, what a delight she is to us all in these lovely doggy devotionals. Your analogy on studying the Bible is excellent indeed. One great free resource I would recommend highly for PC is E-Sword (https://www.e-sword.net/), which I use a lot. I also use Literal Word NASB (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.literalword.mobile_app) on my tablet which is a good study Bible.
    Thank you for your continued inspiration sister, God bless you and Adi.

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    1. Thank you Alan for both the lovely comment and the recommendations! It is truly amazing the tools we now have at a click of a button. I looked at e-sword and am so impressed at all it has to offer, even Strong’s!! I will certainly be adding that to my laptop. I’m eager to look further into the literal word. We are truly rich in resources.

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  5. Great story Beth and I love the photos. I’m with Dave I lobe Bible gateway but what helps me is keeping a journal. I have one for notes of a study I’m doing with my wife and this is more like a notebook. Then I have one where I write scriptures, thoughts or poetry usually in the morning. I have found that if I get lazy and don’t write down a sugar pea God has picked for me that this old brain forgets by the time it is convenient to write! Have a blessed week.

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    1. Thank you Pastor Pete! Your comment if you “don’t write down a sugar pea God has picked for me this old brain forgets by the time it is convenient to write” resonated loudly. I’ll confess that same thing happens with my younger brain too. I’ll chalk it off for both of us as a case of the seed snatching bird from the parable of the sower rather than age. I keep a journal with my morning devotional things but am not so good about recording scriptures I come across later in the day. I like your idea of keeping Bible study notes in a separate journal/notebook.

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  6. This is such an excellent post! The more we invest in God’s word, the more truth is revealed to us. We do not need to be ‘spoon fed’; we can learn so much on our own, and the Holy Spirit does intercede for us. I love your pea-picking pup!!! The sweetest peas do not simply fall into our mouths for us to eat; the finest things in life take a bit of work, and a great deal of patience to acquire.

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    1. Thank you Linda! Adi now jumps into the garden and stands in front of the pea vines with great anticipation. Your words “The sweetest peas do not simply fall into our mouths for us to eat; the finest things in life take a bit of work and a great deal of patience to acquire” are an excellent addition to this lesson.

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    1. That is too funny that the dog snuck into the garden to pick tomatoes. I wonder if your gardener friend blamed the local wildlife for the missing tomatoes first before realizing it was her own dog. My father is also a gardener and when I told him about Adi’s new found skill he said my garden now has a big, black Labrador bunny. Adi will have to develop some hopping skills before she can fully embrace that title.

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  7. I love your applied insight here, Beth. As with your relationship with Adi, true friendship is rare on earth. It means identifying with someone in thought, heart, and spirit. The whole experience of life is designed to enable us to enter into this closet relationship with Jesus, our Savior. As we study for ourselves the depth of meaning His words to us in Scripture, a closer relationship with Him develops as a result, for we are developing the “mind of Christ.” This has been my personal, ongoing experience. Thank you for this confirmation and for posting this.

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    1. Thank you so much GW for your generous comment! What a friend we have in Jesus. I never realized how much the process of digging into the Word would strengthen that friendship and help me connect to Him in “thought, heart, and spirit.” I had not thought of it before, and you are absolutely correct that our time with Him studying His word helps us to develop the mind of Christ.

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  8. Amen, Beth. We can glean from the Bible ourselves—no intermediary is needed. Your illustration of Adi and the sugar peas is a perfect picture of this!

    I use Biblegateway.com as a reference source for reading the same passage of scripture in several different translations.

    Blessings!

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    1. Thank you David for sharing the Bible Gatewary resource! I’ve heard of it but never looked into it. This morning I explored the website and was delighted by all it offered. I’ve gone ahead and added it to the online resources listed on the post so others can see it as well.

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