Landscaping and Fruit-Bearing

It was 85 degrees here in Columbia yesterday. Supposed to be 78 today. And 81 tomorrow. The sun’s shining. The grass is greening, dogwoods are blooming, and trees are leafing. Spring has finally sprung.

If you’re like me you deeply appreciate the beauty of spring with its unique aromas and sights. Fresh cut grass, the smell of flowers, and the like raise my spirits just about this time each year. But there is a down side to all of this. I had to mow again yesterday. And seeing that I hadn’t changed or sharpened my blade in years, I switched it out. Should have been simple and quick, but things like that never seem to be. But for me to compete with the lush shade of green found in some of my neighbor’s yards there are other chores to be undertaken. Fertilizing, weed control, weed-whacking.

I’m not just content to have a good looking yard, I want flowers and trees and bushes of all varieties. Some of you are like me, and you’ve spent some time trying to cultivate a garden, whether floral or vegetable. Others of you have annual aspirations of doing so, but never quite get around to it. Here’s why: maintaining a beautiful garden is hard. I’ve had to dig up the old soil and lay down the new. I have to fertilize every few weeks, water regularly (especially in August), trim and prune, and the list goes on.

Fruit in gardening and lawn care doesn’t come cheaply or easily. It takes diligence, knowledge, patience, and discipline. And you’ve got to love what you’re doing, you’ve got to love the outcome you trust will come enough to put up with all the toil.

Spiritual fruit is not all that different. Just like we’d all love to have a lush garden surrounding our house, we’d all love to have the maturity and righteousness we see in the men and women we look up to. But it takes a level of discipline and diligence that we are sometimes unwilling to commit to. I recall a great bible teacher who was asked how he could teach the Scriptures so well and so often. His answer was that he spent about 2-3 hours reading and studying Scripture daily. I’d love to be able to teach like him…but to this point I’ve not been faithful enough or disciplined enough to spend the time that is required.

Seeing the fruit of a beautiful garden and manicured lawn is not rocket science. Neither is seeing spiritual fruit in our lives. Faith, discipline, obedience, patience, self-control, etc., etc. These are the means by which we grow. God has spelled them out for us in his Word. But how would we know if we are not reading it? If we are not praying daily? If we are not being challenged and encouraged by fellow Christians?

I’m heading to Strawberry Hill Farms this afternoon to grab some flowers for the year (if you live in Columbia look them up online…definitely the place to shop). But while I diligently maintain my lawn and grow my garden, I pray that I will more diligently and more faithfully pursue growing in righteousness and in my relationship with the Lord. I pray the same for all of you.

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