Last year, I decided to expand my back garden by about two feet. This grand scheme seemed urgently necessary. My daughters had been begging me to grow tomatoes and cucumbers so we could “eat our own food” and my garden was packed full already.
Besides that, my girls live on strawberries and I had, in a moment of frugal inspiration, decided that growing our own berries would be cheaper than paying someone else to grow them for me.
Within a year, those determined little strawberry plants muscled in like they owned the whole joint. They spread into every corner and began popping up in random unclaimed territory.
We needed more room.
So, I bought some inexpensive garden fencing, pulled on my gardening shoes and rolled up my sleeves for the job ahead. I figured I’d dig a little and then plant and mulch. In about two hours I’d be kicking back with a lemonade and surveying the finished product.
It only took one shovel dug down into the dirt to realize this may have been a bad idea. At the very least, it would take much more work than I planned in order to create my idyllic backyard Eden.
Apparently, only about the first half inch of earth was actual dirt. After that it wasn’t so much soil as pebbles, clay, and yes, even broken up blocks of cement.
This was not good earth.
It took intense digging out of the old mess, which had me on Motrin for a week afterwards to combat the back, leg and arm pain. Then I dumped in bags of topsoil, manure, and fertilizer and mixed it all around to form an “earth soup” of sorts.
That was all just prep work before I planted and mulched, fenced in the area, and then kicked back to enjoy a cup of hot tea before bed time since my morning job had turned into an all-day project.
The truth is sometimes we God has to get down and dirty in our lives, too, digging out the pebbles, clay, and even cement that hinder what He intends to grow.
In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus reminded his disciples that there are different types of soil—people who are variably receptive to God’s Word.
The seed is scattered on:
- Hard road with no growth: Some people are like the seed that falls on the hardened soil of the road. No sooner do they hear the Word than Satan snatches away what has been planted in them
- Shallow Soil: And some are like the seed that lands in the gravel. When they first hear the Word, they respond with great enthusiasm. But there is such shallow soil of character that when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it.
- Weedy Ground: The seed cast in the weeds represents the ones who hear the kingdom news but are overwhelmed with worries about all the things they have to do and all the things they want to get. The stress strangles what they heard, and nothing comes of it.
- Good Earth: But the seed planted in the good earth represents those who hear the Word, embrace it, and produce a harvest beyond their wildest dreams (Mark 4:14-20, MSG).
This is a challenge to us as we share the Gospel with others. Sometimes we are frustrated with a lack of growth and we keep shoving seeds into the soil. We get pushy about it, edgy, and feel as if everything depends on us.
Yet, God patiently engages in intense soil preparation long before we see the first shoots of green push out of the earth.
This isn’t just about others, though. It’s also about the quality of the earth in our own lives.
The seed in the shallow soil and the weedy ground began to grow—a relationship with God had sprouted. Yet when the initial emotional highs and excitement faded, the shallow-rooted plants didn’t last. Then there’s the weedy ground where the sprouts of life were choked out by stress and busyness.
I’m content to live with weeds too much of the time, too “overwhelmed with worries about all the things I have to do” to stop and listen, receive, and act on the work God is doing.
So, He pulls out a shovel and starts digging out my mess of pebbles and cement. He pours in fertilizer and rich dirt. Then He yanks out the crabgrass and clover threatening to choke out life.
It’s like when you have all these plans and scheduled activities and your daughters get sick one . . . after . . . . the . . . . other, staking a claim to the couch and a bucket.
Instead of rushing here and there, I’ve pulled my most comfortable sweatshirt over my head and my favorite white socks on my feet. I’ve brushed my hair back into a loose ponytail.
I’m prepping soup for the Crock Pot and bread for hot ham and cheese for the perfect dinner on a cool, gray and rainy day.
I’m cleaning up messes and destroying germs with Lysol and Clorox.
And I’ve settled down at the kitchen table ready to sit with God for a while. He’s been pulling weeds out of my life this week. That means changing my plans and interrupting my schedule.
It also means, He’s trying to make something beautiful grow.
What’s He doing in your life?
Is He reminding you not to give up on others and what appears to be the hardened soil of their heart?
Is He asking you to dig your roots deeper in the ground so that you won’t topple over at the slightest wind or dry spell?
Is He yanking out some weeds that have been choking out His work in your heart?
It’s time to let the Master Gardener work unhindered so that we can become good earth and “produce a harvest beyond (our) wildest dreams.”
Here’s What I’m Making For Dinner:
- Panera’s Cream Cheese Potato Soup—I love potato soup and I’ve scoured the Internet for the perfect recipe. This is my first try with this one, but it sounds yummy, so I’m hoping for the best!
- Kraft’s Ham & Cheddar in a Loaf: I made this before and it’s yummy. This time, I think I’m adding pepperoni for an extra kick.
More Devotions From My Garden:
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2012 Heather King
3 thoughts on “Devotions from My Garden: Soil Samples”
I loved your blog today, as I am an avid gardener and love digging in the dirt. My favorite thing to do on a warm, sunny day is to sit down in the middle of my garden, in the dirt….and play.
Thanks for all that you do.
Heather, Love the recipes! I tried the chicken and baked potato casserole last week and it was a huge hit! Most importantly still, thank you for feeding our souls!
Enjoyed the story and looking at that pretty garden picture! I just read the Mark verse this am ! Love to garden and weed myself. Yes, weeding! Good for the soul! (ps not at choir as still a little under weather and Len home sick. It’s going around both our offices)