One Minute Devotional – Devotions From My Garden: Underneath the Dirt

I cleaned out my garden last week, clawing at the dirt to extricate the weeds, moving plants around, and spreading mulch.

It turns out that the miniature roses that I thought would stay, well, miniature, grew far larger than I ever expected.  They are dwarfing all of the plants behind them.  After years of watching these rose bushes grow exponentially each season, I’ve finally realized that “miniature” just means the size of the bud—not the size of the bush.

So, I finally broke down and moved one of the rose bushes to the back of the garden where it didn’t look like anything was growing.  But it’s March and many of my perennials and summer bulbs haven’t poked their heads above ground yet.

Sure enough, I pushed my trowel into the dirt only to overturn a bulb.

I guess something was growing there after all.

In the garden and in life, it’s so often the hidden things we can’t see that produce the life we do see.

In his devotional book A Year With Jesus, Eugene Peterson wrote: “Jesus’ work was not always public, out where people could see it.  There were also quiet interludes of retirement and rest.  The quiet asides are as characteristic of his ministry as the glorious signs.”

Jesus not only valued the moments of solitude and quiet, but He also called His disciples away when they were weary from service:

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest
(Mark 6:31 NIV).

What is “characteristic” of God’s work in you?  Is it just the visible that matters?  Is it the Sunday masquerade or the busyness of church life?  Is it committee meetings, ministry sign-ups, the quantifiable and the identifiable?

Don’t mistake this.  We are to serve God where He has called us to serve.  We shouldn’t linger on the pew when He’s asked us to step out and get busy.  Be assured that He will equip you and strengthen you when you act in obedience.

But don’t scorn the quiet, hidden work of God, either.  Don’t get so wrapped up in doing that you fail at being at the feet of God.  The Master Gardener may be growing something great in you just beneath the soil, something beautiful that you haven’t yet seen.  And it begins with you sitting before an open Bible, with your prayers laid down at His feet, with your songs of praise during the morning commute.  It begins in the hidden places alone with Him.

More Devotions From My Garden:

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for 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

Devotions from My Garden: Breaking Ground

It is an annual ritual in my house.

The first time I push aside the leaves and mulch in our garden and discover tiny green shoots in the earth, I call for each of my kids.  We stand around in awe and anticipation, just spending a few moments looking down at our first sign of spring.  It feels so wonderful, so hopeful, to see physical evidence that the coldness and deadness of winter will be ending soon.

So far, my youngest daughter is the only one I haven’t yet put to work in the garden. Although, even she was beginning to carry weeds to the wheelbarrow and dig into the soil last year.

When my baby girl sees these little green leaves, it may seem almost like magic.  The rest of us, though, know that before we can enjoy the fanfare of brightly colored spring tulips and daffodils, we had to plow up the earth, plant the bulbs, weed, and protect them from weather that is too harsh.

Our efforts didn’t produce much at first.  These bulbs didn’t grow all fall and into the winter.  We’ve endured a full season of drab brown and gray.  It’s only now, months after their original planting, that we see evidence of growth and life.

As Christians, it’s easy to forget that in order to grow and produce life, we have to let God work in our hearts.  It’s sometimes painful and we don’t always see the purpose of this work right away, but our fruitfulness depends on it.

Last year, I felt God turning over the soil of my heart, sifting out the deep-rooted sins that have to be removed before I can produce fruit.

From the surface, I may have looked like good soil before this.  Sometimes it’s the sins that we can easily hide from others that are the hardest to dig out.  Yet, He knew about those hidden sins that I manage to keep so private—sins like pride and jealousy, and He’s been digging them out with firmness and yet with so much grace.

We may think we’ve given over all of our lives to God.  We may see some fruit and think that it’s enough.  Yet, God will always ask us to draw closer to Him, to give more of our lives, to break up unplowed ground and allow Him to work in the areas we’ve previously kept from His hand.

Sometimes in real life, I’m tempted to just dump a whole bunch of mulch on top of the weeds, hoping they suffocate under the load.  It’s that way in my heart, too.  It seems easier somehow to just dump a righteous façade on top of my bad attitudes, lack of trust, and other heart problems and hope that those sins remain hidden.

Any good gardener, however, will tell you that the only way to get rid of weeds is to completely remove them, roots and all.  It’s work—hard work—but it is what needs to be done to ensure the quality of the soil and to produce the best harvest.

In Hosea 10:2, it says, “Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until He comes and showers righteousness on you” (NIV).

If God has been urging you to “break up your unplowed ground,” allow Him to work.  It might hurt as He uses circumstances and other people to break up the hard rocky places in your heart.

Yet, when He has uprooted the weeds of sin in your life and turned over soil, unsettling your ground and disturbing your status quo, “sow for yourselves righteousness . . . and seek the Lord.”  Protect your heart from those same sins taking root again by filling up that dirt with His Word and with time spent in His presence.

He is a Master Gardener.  He doesn’t just plant without tending.  Instead, He “comes and showers righteousness on you” so that you can “reap the fruit of unfailing love.”

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for 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