I love to garden. There is something about digging in the soil and harvesting food and flowers that is very therapeutic for me. I can get lost for hours in the heat and dirt, alone with God to toil over the harvest of the earth. I believe that God built this desire in me for a purpose. As I nurture and work in the garden of my soul, I toil to remove imperfections and pray that God can reap a bountiful harvest.
When my kids were little we planted a large vegetable garden. I taught the kids that planting a garden would lead to huge rewards but would also require a lot of work. To do it well we had to begin by preparing the soil. Loosening the dirt, pulling the weeds, and stirring in nutrients were important steps to prepping the garden. Planning the garden could be simple or extremely complex. We had to decide if we wanted to plant from seeds, start the seeds in our home before winter was over, purchase seedlings, or even use mature plants for more of an instant garden! Next, we decided what varieties we would use and when to plant the garden.
Throughout the summer we needed to remember to weed the garden, as well as make sure it got the water and the fertilizer that it needed. Most importantly, when the produce finally ripened we had to pay attention and pick it before the bunnies and deer ate it for their dinner. Bringing our produce in to our home to enjoy with our meals, was the final reward.
Just think if we had neglected the garden over the summer, would we reap a harvest in the fall? Maybe a few beans would be edible, more than likely a pumpkin or 2 would still grow and you can count on the zucchini making it through the summer without any attention. But would it reach its full potential? Would we get a bounty crop if it didn’t get enough water? If the weeds choked out the plants, would there be any tomatoes to put in our salad? The answer of course is no. It wouldn’t produce an abundance if it had been neglected.
So, over the years my garden has changed, and I focus more on flowers, but I still love to work in the soil. It reminds me of my spiritual life. Tending my spiritual garden feeds my eternal soul. I need to allow God to toil in the soil and loosen up the hardened dirt. Much like weeding the garden, prayer allows me to look under the surface of my heart for sins that prohibit growth. I need to be very selective about what I allow to be planted in my heart. Will I choose to fill my spiritual garden with brittle, diseased plants or will I opt for planting scripture and strong Biblical truths in my heart? Watering my life by reading about those that have gone before me strengthens my resolve to stay the course.
Just like there are many choices for what to plant in our physical garden – we have so many choices of what to plant in our spiritual garden. Reading is such a vital part of nourishing our souls, but we must choose wisely what to allow to speak into our lives. God gives me discernment about what books to read and which books to pass over. The material we read can be such a boost for our lives and the Bible is our greatest resource. Will you join me in this resolve? Ask God to work on your spiritual garden and show you how to feed your soul. First place to start? The scriptures.
Romans 12:2 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.
Martha Brangenberg works alongside her husband Jim, as host on the iWork4Him radio program weekdays LIVE in Florida and online around the world. Their desire is to help listeners incorporate Christ in their workplace, wherever that workplace might be. www.iWork4Him.com