I am a gardener—a weekend warrior. Plants are not just a pastime; they are a passion. I love to spend every available minute during the weekend tending to a never-ending list of yard projects: staking the clematis, repotting the fan palms, and pruning the climbing rose.
Am I a good gardener? That depends. Through my years of experience, I have observed a pattern of success and failure that can be attributed to one thing: the soil. If I have taken care to nurture my plant beds and potting mix, then I can be confident that the plants will develop and flourish. Adding compost and fertilizer make a huge difference. However, when I’ve not taken the time to feed the soil, it isn’t long before I notice the plants are not only failing to thrive, but they are also sometimes in decay. The soil is where the nutrients are, and it’s what sustains the plants during hard times like drought and flood.
TAKING TIME TO TEND
I have often wondered if my walk with Christ could be compared with how I tend my soil. I look back at times in my life when I have not given Jesus the attention he deserves and where I have let the distractions of this fast-paced life outweigh the significance of a personal relationship with our Creator. It’s not that he is far from me; it’s that I have chosen to be far from him. The results? Not pretty. John 15:5 says, in part, that apart from him, we can do nothing. Time spent apart from Jesus is hectic and often feels upside down. Like the way it feels walking through an unkept garden, overgrown with weeds, and vines, and thorns.
Instead, in John 4:8, the Bible tells us to draw near to God and he will draw near to us. Time on my front porch, surrounded by purple orchids and the lush green leaves of monstera, allows me to breathe in God’s goodness, to relax and soak in some of the beautiful things of this world that he created. It reminds me of just how powerful, creative, and loving he is. There on the porch, I don’t just read his Word, but rather, take time to study what he is saying. It gives me perspective on his mercies and teachings.
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you... and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”Jeremiah 29:13–14 (NIV)
This verse is food for my soul. It refreshes and challenges me. I am a work in progress. There is work on my part, yet to be done. But by tending to this precious relationship with Jesus and recommitting myself to him daily, he will not only nurture my soil, but my soul.