This past April, my Husband and I had the greatest idea and decided we would try our hand at gardening. So many people at work were bringing in fresh salads with chopped herbs and juicy tomatoes from their own gardens so I thought “hey, why not?”. It just so happened that we had raised flower beds in our backyard that were just sitting there unused. So off we marched to our local nursery and bought all the makings for a little beginner’s garden. We bought tomatoes, herbs, zucchini, and a few flowers for our front yard.
The first few days we poured love into that garden. Rich soil and plant food was purchased and matching gardening tools to boot. We even started discussed what we’d be planting next Spring and giggled expectantly about our first harvest!
Every morning and evening we tended to those baby plants. We fertilized them, watered them, and discussed what we’d do to protect them from the summer sun. Before long we saw the fruits of our labor, our tomato plants started to bud, the zucchini plants were spreading, and the herbs were thriving. We were so encouraged that my Husband made up his mind that he would be attempting watermelon (lol) and I was going to grow vines of berries (haha). We were in awe at the miracle of plant life and how God was making them grow. After a month or so we were able to pick a few tomatoes and use some of the herbs in our recipes. Mmmm…scrumptious! But then something happened…
When gardening takes a turn for the worst
Here is the part where I tell you that we live in Las Vegas, NV and we have about four months of blazing summer heat that can reach temperatures of 120 degrees fahrenheit. Before long, daily watering of the garden turned into once every other day of watering. Pretty soon that turned into forgetting to water the garden altogether because it was just too hot to go outside.
I remember one day I decided to make salsa and when I asked my husband to bring me some cilantro he brought me the whole bushel (roots, dirt, and all) because when he went to yank off what he needed, the tug uprooted the entire plant. The roots had withered and the plant had given up.
That in turn caused us to give up on them. We couldn’t bring them back to life now.
Those poor baby plants were left alone exposed to the elements.
I looked out my window a few days ago just out of curiosity because it had been weeks since I had even thought about my little plants and I was saddened by what I discovered. What had once been a garden teeming with life and bearing fruit now looked like a cross between tumble weed and potpourri (embarrassing to admit). It was completely dried up. Dried up because we had simply neglected to take care of them.
How our spiritual lives are like this garden
The Lord showed me something as I pondered over those abandoned plants. This is what happens to us when we lose our focus, when we get distracted, when we neglect our time with the Lord. Our spirit needs to be watered and nurtured with the word of God. His Holy Spirit is the living water that quenches our spiritual thirst. Our spiritual lives can be likened to a plant. It has to be rooted in Him, it thrives in good soil, and it needs water to make it grow.
“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.”
John 15: 4
Our Lord promises us His Holy Spirit upon salvation but what happens when we don’t stay tapped into the Spirit? What happens when we forget to pray, and push the bible to the wayside? We are exposed to the elements of this world and then we are left fighting a battle that was never intended for us to fight alone. We become parched.
“Can papyrus grow tall where there is no marsh? Can reeds thrive without water? While still growing and uncut, they wither more quickly than grass. Such is the destiny of all who forget God; so perishes the hope of the godless.
Job 8: 11-13
What gardening taught me about Spiritual Growth
Jesus is the one who is able to tend to our souls, but we have to let Him. All throughout God’s word He talks about roots, growth, seeds, branches, water, soil, fruit…the list goes on and on. It occurred to me that there is so much we can learn by gardening. That like gardens, our spiritual lives have to be tended to. Do you remember how annoyed Jesus was with the fig tree that didn’t bear fruit in Matthew 21:19 or the parable He told in Luke 13:6?
“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardner. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.”
He desires for us to lead fruitful lives that are continually transformed and have evidence of growth. Don’t let the busyness of life keep you from studying God’s word. Stay soaked in His presence absorbing every ounce of love and wisdom. Not only that but we are to put what we read into practice. Growing every day to become more and more like Him. Learning from our experiences and increasing our faith.
“When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father”
John 15: 8
May you continue to produce much fruit.
Blessings to you,
I linked up at Grace & Truth
click here to see my feature