By Gloria Wessner.
This time of year always brings a sense of newness as we work in our gardens and flower beds, or enjoy the ‘new green’ look all around us. The snow has given way to the warmth of the sun so it can be dug up or cultivated and prepared for planting. Then the seed is planted, watered and fertilized so that it will grow into a bountiful crop or garden producing beautiful flowers and shrubs. There is an interesting parallel between our gardens and our lives.
Just as the sun warms the soil to get it ready for new life, so God’s spirit helps warm our hearts to make it possible to hear and perhaps receive His message of love and forgiveness. He often helps us come in contact with others who have a genuine personal relationship with Him who are like water or rain to help others understand what God’s message is so it can soak into our lives. They can help us to receive this message for ourselves and then help us grow in this new spiritual life. As we read His word, pray and have genuine fellowship with other believers, we will begin to ‘grow up’ or mature in our faith and then we in turn help nurture others to find God in a personal way, too. If we don’t nourish our new life, we will be like the garden that is never weeded and our new faith will be choked out. There are too many things ‘out there’ that pull and tug and we will be powerless to make those good, personal choices that God would have us make so we can live that abundant life that he wants us to live:
“A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” (John 10:10 The Message)
Jesus put it this way as he explained a parable (story) that he had told a crowd earlier as he talked to them while sitting in a boat as they listened to him on the shore. (Matthew 13:1-10)
“Now here is the explanation of the story I told about the farmer sowing grain: The seed that fell on the hard path represents those who hear the Good News about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches the seed away from their hearts. The rocky soil represents those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But like young plants in such soil, their roots don’t go very deep. At first they get along fine, but they wilt as soon as they have problems or are persecuted because they believe the word. The thorny ground represents those who hear and accept the Good News, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares of this life and the lure of wealth, so no crop is produced. The good soil represents the hearts of those who truly accept God’s message and produce a huge harvest–thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted.” Matthew 13:18-23
How is your spiritual garden with God growing?
Readers are invited to send their comments or questions to Gloria at firstname.lastname@example.org.