Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Tending the Garden

photo by Pam Williams

As I spun the tall rack holding packet after packet of flower seeds, I suddenly spotted the one I wanted—Four O’clocks. The picture on the front of the package showed blooms in a variety of pastel colors covering tall willowy stalks. I couldn’t wait to plant them.

I carefully weeded and sifted the rocks from the area where I wanted the flowers to grow. When the soil was prepared I dug a little trench and put in the seeds. I watered them faithfully, and after about two weeks the seeds germinated and tiny plants appeared. Around mid-summer colorful trumpet-shaped blooms popped open around 4:00, just like their name indicates, although for some reason, mine bloomed at 4:00 AM and closed up by 4:00 PM).

After a few weeks of blooms, I noticed small green pods holding plump, bomb-shaped black seeds eager to roll out of their little nests. I didn’t know that Four O’clocks yielded such an abundant harvest of seeds for planting next year. Every day I go out and gather them up. You can see how many I have collected so far. I sowed just a handful of seeds at the beginning of the season, but have reaped many times that over the past weeks.

Recently I was reading the parable Jesus told about the sower in Mark 4. Verse eight says, “Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times."

What constitutes “good soil”? What elements are necessary for plants to flower or bear fruit? According to, seeds need proper placement (meaning the light, nutrition, and drainage are optimum), pollination, pruning and patience. Naturally, I thought of the Four O’clock seeds. They definitely love the light and the soil content where they are planted. I have watered them thoroughly when rain was scarce. thinned out the plants when they first came up, kept their space weeded, and plucked off the spent blooms. I am so pleased with the return for my efforts—the profusion of beautiful flowers and the copious amount of seeds I am collecting.

As the story and my experience with the Four O’clocks intertwined in my thoughts, I began to see the
correlation. My spiritual harvest is dependent on conditions that are very similar to those of my Four O’clocks.  My spiritual growth requires the light and nutrition of God’s Word daily. Prayer will help me to examine my soul and weed out those influences that choke Jesus out and prune those habits and thought patterns that are inconsistent with His teachings. For my spiritual life to blossom and bloom, I must tend the garden of my soul in much the same way that I tend my flower garden. When I do, others will be attracted to Jesus, like the bees and butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted to my Four O’clocks. And the harvest will be more followers of Jesus!

Hmmm. I think my spiritual garden could use a little more attention. How about yours?

Be encouraged!

©2016 Pamela D. Williams