Those of you that know me well are aware of the fact that I don’t have a green thumb. In fact, it’s a wonder that anything, including crab grass, can survive if I’m involved. But this year, Amanda and I decided we’d try our hands at a garden. Well, if you call 10 plants a garden, that’s what we have. Well, truly, we have 7 now, because 3 died. See what I mean? Anyway, we’ve been working outside a lot in recent weeks building a patio off the back of our house. While I’ve been out there, I noticed something interesting: weeds grow a lot faster than the stuff you want to grow.
You see, when I dug the footing for the patio, I had to dump the dirt all over the yard (kind of like Tim Robbins in Shawshank Redemption, except I used a wheelbarrow, not holes in my pockets. That’s for you, big bro). So imagine, if you will, my back yard looking like a bomb testing zone, with all these piles of red clay scattered around. Each of those piles of dirt, a mere 3 weeks old, have weeds galore. There are a couple things growing in them that I believe to be small trees! In 3 weeks! I did nothing but dump the stuff and leave it there, and I’ve got an ecosystem developing all by itself!
Yet in the middle of that chaos sits my little 6 X 8 garden, pitiful as it is. My tiny plants are clinging to life, craving fertilizer and water and the tender loving care that any real gardner would give. Poor things…they didn’t choose me! If I get a squash the size of a thimble and one cherry tomato off those plants, I’ll feel I succeeded.
So review with me: on the one hand I have unwanted growth that I did not intend and am doing nothing at all to cultivate yet they are thriving, and on the other had I have these plants that I DO want, that I DID intend to plant, and that I WANT to grow, barely clinging to life.
See the picture? I sure did. Weeds=sin. Garden=following Christ. Sin comes up easily, in a moments notice. You don’t have to plant it, it will root up on its own if you’re not careful. Let a fertile piece of land for it in your heart, and watch out! It will grow and grow, unless you take measure to “root it out.” You want it to really take off? Water it, fertilize it! Give it some attention, and BAM! It will take over your whole life, like wire grass has my yard.
My walk with Christ, however, is more like my garden. I must be intentional about it. It takes time. If I want my relationship with Jesus to grow, then I have to spend time relating to Him, right? Time in prayer. Time in the Word. Time in worship. If I give Him a little, then I’ll get a little growth (like my pitiful garden plants), but no where near the growth that would come from more time! It’s not going to happen on it’s own.
As my dad always said, if it was easy, everybody would do it. He meant our job, but I think it applies to our spiritual life, too. Anything worth having takes time. Like my marriage, if I want to really make it work, then I have to work at it. We know this, right? Then why don’t we spend more time “in the Garden”, as the old hymn says, than we do?
So tonight, let’s pull up some weeds and cultivate something worth growing: our faith in Christ.
(By the way, that pic is NOT my back yard. Yet.)