Only the few of you who saw the epic "Joe Dirt" will appreciate the title to this post, and that's OK with me. I can't officially endorse it to the teenage population, but I must saw it's downright hysterical. Anyways, that's not the point of this post. I was finishing up a good book today called "Sacred Pathways" by Gary Thomas and the final chapter got me thinking.Thomas uses an analogy about two women who each plant a vegetable garden side by side. Over a period of six months one of the women generally disregards the garden. She figures it's going to take care of itslelf. She checks on it occasionally but isn't overly concerned about it. There were warning signs of some unhealthy plants but she figured they'd work themselves out eventually. The second woman spent time just about every day tending to the garden. She propped some plants up, gave specific attention to detail for each plant, and did her best to keep weeds out of the area.
Around the time for these vegetables to start producing, which of the two gardens produced more healthy vegetables? The obvious answer would be correct: the woman who took care of her garden. The moral of the story, though, is not in enjoying tomatoes. In fact I hate tomatoes and my wife loves them. But that's for another day.
The moral of the story is in regards to these two women and our own relationship with God. Thomas sums it up well on page 220: "If we tend our garden, we'll have plenty of food with which to feed others. If we give our garden just cursory attention, we may have enough to feed just ourselves. If we completely neglect our garden, we're going to be so hungry we'll become "consumer" Christians, feeding off others." I couldn't agree more with this statement. In my seasons of busier-than-is-good-for-me living, I'm often barely taking the time to nourish my own soul, let alone provide encouragement for those in need of it. I am worried, stressed, and typically self absorbed. There's a garden called a relationship with God that needs attention, but I'm too busy to notice. Conversely, when I'm busy but don't give into the temptation to push time with God aside, I'm actually more full to see the needs of others and lovingly respond.
So, how's your garden going? Are you seeing healthy fruit, enough so that you can enjoy serving others because you being fed by God? Or are you tending to your own matters by yourself, avoiding or neglecting the garden of a great relationship with God? Spend some time thinking about how you best connect with God - maybe by listening to worship music, maybe in silence, maybe by reading chunks of Scripture (this is important no matter how you best connect with him!). There are other ways - prayer walks outside, getting into certain postures like on your knees or raising your hands. Tend to your garden; the Lord is ready to give you more abundance than you think!