Gardening is a great hobby. The work can be tedious and time consuming, but the rewards of tilling the soil and seeing flowers, shrubs, and trees flourish are immeasurable. Not to mention, the miracle of life contained in one tiny seed boggles the human mind.
I am not a master gardener, not even a well-versed novice. Everything I know was passed down to me from my grandmother and my mother-in-law, who could both grow a tropical paradise out of nothing but clippings, shared seeds, and backbreaking labor.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I can hold my own when it comes to potted plants and manicured flowerbeds. I usually manage to coax some gorgeous blooms from the annuals I plant each spring.
Usually…but not this year. This year, I decided to go with some fiery red impatiens under the huge oak tree in our front yard. I waited well into the planting season to make sure frost would not be a problem. I bought my plants at a higher end nursery, because quality bedding plants produce quality blossoms. And I bought more than enough plants to fill the circular stone flowerbed.
I even purchased my favorite brand of plant food, Miracle Gro, in a fancy container that connects directly to the garden hose (pay attention to this last bit of information, because this is the crux of my tale).
The family and I worked an entire afternoon getting those plants into the ground. We had enough left over for two big containers of flowers to place by our front door. God even blessed us with a sweet little shower that night to water our newly planted flowers.
Everything was looking great—except for the fact that my plants did not flourish at all. The weather was perfect with mild temperatures and daily sunshine. I watered regularly without overwatering. And I used the Miracle Gro at the suggested intervals. I even prayed over my flowers, but they began to turn yellow and wilt right before my watchful eyes.
My husband kept saying that the soil wasn’t rich enough. I could believe that, but it was too late to be prepping dirt with 50 plants in the ground. My little impatiens needed help immediately; they were in critical condition, practically dead. So, I impatiently implored God to show me what was wrong with my plants—quickly.
He did! As I desperately watered my flowers one more time with the Miracle Gro, I mused over how long this one bottle of plant food had lasted. A really long time…wait a minute…way too long. I turned the water off, removed the plant food dispenser and screwed off its lid.
Much to my embarrassment, I found the plastic protective seal totally intact. All those times spent spreading the Miracle Gro had been in vain. The plant food was still dry and unused. What kind of miracle was I expecting without even opening the package???
Stop laughing! Stop! I know it’s funny; really I do. But don’t we do the same thing in our walk with Christ?
We expect to flourish and grow as Christians just because we have lined up all the perfect components for production: We have Jesus in our hearts, we attend church regularly, and we abstain from worldly pursuits. We tithe and give; we worship and pray; we even serve and love others as Christ first loved us.
In essence, we plant a beautiful garden, actually the perfect garden. We just forget our food, our daily bread—the Word of God. How can we expect to grow and mature when we only receive food each Sunday from our precious pastors?
We can’t. We need a daily intake of life-producing truth. We need to water and feed ourselves with time spent in the Scriptures. We must make it a daily priority to designate a specific time and place to read the Bible. We need to take His Word, meditate on it, pray on it, and ultimately act on it. Yes, it is essential to feed on His Word. Then, and only then, that Bread of Life will help us to blossom in every aspect of life.
And believe me! It’s absolutely amazing what a little “plant food” will do. It sure helped my impatiens. Overnight, I saw marked improvement in their color, and within a week, I saw dark green foliage growth and multiplied blossoms. Now, a month and two bottles of Miracle Gro later, my oak tree flowerbed is filled with luscious flaming red flowers.
So, here’s my gardening tip of the day: if you want some miracle growth in your spiritual life, open up the Word and pour it on. It works!