My mom is a serious gardener. She always has a beautiful garden, but when she downsized a few years ago she lost her garden space. To remedy that, my sibs and I — well, ok, the guys — built garden boxes for her.
Now, she is out there gardening every single day; and look at the results…
When I helped her pick her veggies on Saturday, the harvest was amazing! From two 4’ square boxes, she has grown more vegetables than she can eat by herself.
I inherited a bit of a green thumb from my mom, but not quite the same passion, as you can see from these photos of my garden.
Every spring I start out strong; my goal is to water daily, keep the weeds pulled, and the bunnies outside the bunny fence. Unfortunately, my plans fade with the busyness of life, and the summer heat, until my gardening becomes a once-a-week work session of weeding, pruning, staking, heat, and fatigue.
You can see the difference between my mom’s gardening habits and mine:
My meager harvest:
Mom’s harvest (and, yes, we picked two bowls full of beans):
I have to confess, there are times when I tend my spiritual garden the same way I tend my vegetable garden.
For example: Right now, I’ve just about surrendered my bean patch to a hungry critter who is devouring them. I know he’s out there, but I haven’t discovered the breach in the fence where he’s getting in. Then again, I’m not surveying the garden parameters every day.
The same goes for my heart, when I am not diligently guarding my heart every day, finding, fixing and fortifying every possible breach, the evil one will sneak in through a weak spot and attempt to devour everything he can.
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8
When I get busy and fail to fertilize my veggies they get scraggly. So to, when I’m not daily feeding my soul with nutrition from God’s Word, my wisdom pales, my supports weaken, and my daily choices reflect it.
“If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, for jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom…” — James 3:13-17
And if I don’t pull weeds of bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness daily, they take over. I don’t purposely plant anger, frustration, depression, quick temper, sarcasm, envy, or laziness, but they pop up quickly, and aggressively take root, if I am not diligent to pull them out.
“So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you.” – Colossians 3:5
It is impossible to grow a healthy garden if all we do is visit it weekly; and relying on a once-a-week church service to provide a healthy harvest of righteousness is just as impossible. Our spiritual life needs more than a weekly dose of Sunday sermon to sufficiently repair breaches in our spirit, support us in our weaknesses, and feed our hungry souls.
If we want to feed the Lord’s sheep, as we’ve been commanded to do, we need a bountiful harvest of righteousness. The only way to harvest righteousness is to embrace God’s discipline. He trains us with discipline just as we stake up a tomato plant, or string up beans. His discipline may not be comfortable in the moment, but it will produce a harvest of righteousness, without which we can do nothing of eternal value.
It’s not too late to start a new habit of seeking God’s grace and mercy daily, so that your spirit can grow strong and healthy. It is not too late to pull the weeds that choke out the fruit of the Spirit in your life.
“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” – Hebrews 4:15
We are known by the fruit we produce; our attitudes, actions, and words reveal what is growing in our hearts. How healthy is your garden? What fruit are you producing? What weeds need to be pulled up by the root so that your harvest is bountiful?
… and let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds…