I’ve had a few hobbies in my life, but the one that I’ve been most passionate about is gardening. There have been lessons that I’ve learned from my garden that I have found to be very applicable in my life.
Love Others Without Judgment
When it comes to flower gardening, I’ve learned that if I plant only the plants that I esteem to be the prettiest, my garden will be boring and will lack the variety it needs to be pleasing to the eye. If I only choose plants that grow to be 12 inches tall with pink flowers, how boring would that be? I’ve learned to look at all types of plants and see their potential in bringing more life to my garden.
This taught me that I need to share my testimony with people who don’t resemble me, who may not talk like me and may not think like me, which in turn will make my spiritual garden fuller and without judgment or prejudice.
Along those same lines, I once lived near a Home Depot that always had a cart full of sad little damaged, weather-beaten plants. I felt compelled to visit that cart every time I was in the store. I would often choose a few, bring them home and nurse them back to life. Where would I be today if someone didn’t go out of their way to share the love of God with my Italian immigrant grandparents who needed a spiritual home?
Make the Best Use of Your Location
Gardening in Florida is extremely different from gardening in Ohio. My yard in Ohio was full of perennials that would come back year after year. I knew which plants needed a hard freeze to survive, and I knew which ones I should cover over with mulch to ensure they made it through the winter. My tomato plants would yield enough tomatoes to make several batches of salsa, spaghetti sauce, oven-roasted tomatoes, and more. During the entire 12 years I’ve lived in Florida, I may have successfully grown a few dozen tomatoes! I do much better with flowers in Florida than with vegetables, but I have to choose plants that can withstand extremely high temperatures. I’ve ripped many burnt plants out of my Florida garden.
Spiritually, I strive—I admit, not always successfully—to make the best of any situation that I find myself in. I may feel overwhelmed in a small mission or lost and unneeded in a larger branch, however, I need to find my place and be willing to help in any way necessary. In Philippians 4:11, we’re instructed to be content in whatever state we’re in.
Prepare the Ground
Whether you’re gardening in South Florida or in the Midwest, the soil needs to be amended. Florida’s soil is mostly sand, which requires adding gardening soil. Ohio’s soil is more fertile than Florida’s soil, but it’s still necessary to add peat moss to loosen the soil enough so that roots can expand deep into the ground. In either location, I have to add fertilizer to ensure the plants have the necessary nutrients to grow to their fullest potential.
This has taught me that I need to keep my spiritual ground prepared. Do I want my gifts to grow? They’re not going to grow on a sandy foundation or in “soil” that is hard and caked together. I need to amend the soil with prayer and fertilize it by doing things such as spending time with my brothers and sisters and searching the scriptures.
Watch Out for Weeds and Pests
No matter what location I’m in, it seems that weeds are a never-ending battle. Weeds can easily overtake the plants, especially the small and tender ones. Weeding my garden has taught me the importance of keeping my spiritual garden clean. When a weed pops up, I try to eliminate it as soon as possible.
Is your weed a vice that you’re having trouble letting go of? Is it someone in your life who is a bad influence and drags you down spiritually? Recently, I deleted a few apps from my phone that I was wasting time using. Those apps served no good purpose and were only getting in the way of things that I could do to be more spiritually productive. Our time on earth is brief, so let’s make the best use of our time and keep our gardens happy and healthy.
Water, Always Water
Nearly any plant in any garden in any location will die without water. It’s absolutely necessary for most gardens.
In John 4, Jesus said to the woman at the well, “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” When we drink any other water besides the water of everlasting life, we will thirst again and eventually die spiritually. In order to keep our garden healthy and lively, we cannot allow it to dry up without the water of everlasting life.
The most important thing that I’ve learned from gardening is that I am the master gardener of my spiritual garden, and it’s up to me to keep it healthy with a high yield of spiritual fruit. Above the master gardener is a horticulturalist. The horticulturalist is all-knowing and in the natural gardening world considered the professional gardener. Let’s allow Jesus to be the horticulturalist of our garden and be guided by His Holy Spirit.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.