Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tending Roses and the Garden of Our Hearts


Sam's wife, Jamie, loved flowers in her yard, and she was terrific at growing them. Jamie used a technique that might have helped me over the years. She planted one at a time and carefully tended it until it was well established and growing.

Jamie loved roses. She had two red rose bushes, one planted on either side of her front stoop. I'm ashamed to admit how many roses I've planted. In general, they haven't done well, mostly because they were more trouble than they were worth to me.

When I stopped by Sam's house this past weekend, I was stunned. Jamie's roses are nearly to the roof and are filled with healthy, beautiful flowers. 

Jamie understood that plants need care if they are to thrive. She wanted them to thrive, so she tended them. She provided what was needed to make them grow and bloom. She treated disease before it was widespread. 

Her attention made a difference.

In Jesus' parable of the sower, He talked about the conditions into which the seed was planted. If the soil wasn't right, the seed wouldn't grow. When the good news of Jesus lands in hearts, He said, it wouldn't take root unless conditions were favorable. 

When the conditions in our heart aren't optimal, His word can't take root and yield a harvest in our lives, either. If we gave our hearts the kind of attention Jamie gave her roses, it would be a different matter. She sprayed her roses to rid them of disease, carefully picked off insects, fertilized, pruned as needed. She tended her flowers.

I'm left wondering if I tend my heart the way I tend my roses. Poorly. It's a surprise every time those roses bear flowers, and it's no wonder. If I sprayed, fertilized, and pruned the way Jamie did, I'd have better roses.

If I did that in my own heart, I'd likely have a better, more God-like heart, too. Are there pesty sins that need to be removed? Dead wood that needs pruning? Do I need the fertilizer of God's Word and Bible study? 

What would it take to make my heart a healthy garden in which God's word can flourish? What would it take for your heart?

Today, let's do a heart-check and tend the garden of our heart. If we give them the attention we should, a garden of God's making is sure to grow and we, too, can yield a harvest.

And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit, and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty." Matthew 13:23 nasb
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