img_5420.jpgJesus used examples from farming in his parables. Weeds, good seed, and fruitfulness are common themes in The Word.  We put in a new garden, planted it, and then took off for two weeks of vacation!  I had thought ahead enough to put about 8 inches of straw between the rows, and mulched around the plants.  But leaving it unattended for that long was not the best of ideas since some of the seeds in the straw started to sprout.  Now I know that those little helicopter seeds from the Maples in the neighborhood will sprout if they are anywhere near uncovered soil.  Yesterday I pulled three buckets full of baby trees, with my apologies to anyone who thinks that defiles nature.

Gardening often causes me to ponder spiritual truths.  As I was snatching out those weeds that were threatening my plants, I thought how easily things that threaten our spiritual well-being can take over our lives.  I have learned that wrapping myself in prayer and Bible study helps to keep out the things that suck the life out of my life!  Spending this time with God has also help me to avoid the sins that so easily take root.

Not that I have mastered spiritual growth.  It was risky for me to leave my garden when plants had not yet developed  strong root systems.  I could have come back to wilted or dead plants…and a considerable waste of time and money.  Thankfully, we had a few showers during those two weeks.  God has kept better watch over me than I did over my garden.  With His help, the good spiritual habits have begun to take root.  Worries and fears that used to sap my strength and threaten my joy no longer overwhelm me as they used to.  Temptations are always there, but with time, I have experienced a friendship with God that satisfies me so much more than the things the world has to offer.  We are not talking perfection here…I am just happy to finally see some baby steps toward maturity.  I’m celebrating any progress as a victory.

Do not settle for weeds; do what will grow your relationship with God. As you tend your ‘garden’ and trust your Savior, He will take joy in you.  When He takes joy in you, the first fruit is that joy you will realize in Him.

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.  Colossians 1:9-12(ESV)