How to Tend the Garden

My pawpaw had a green thumb; his yard was a beautiful thing to behold. The lawn was lush, the flowers prolific and the vegetables plentiful. Yet, these things weren’t automatic; they required effort on his part. He understood what each plant needed to thrive and spent time each day in the yard, tending and guiding it to his will.

Some plants, like hybrid tea roses, require due diligence. They need at least six hours of sunlight- preferably morning, regular water-but never standing water, heavy pruning in February and slightly acidic soil. Prone to aphids and black spot they must be treated regularly. Others, like grasses, grow more readily needing only regular water and sunlight, with an occasional feeding of fertilizer. But the easiest plant to grow is the least desired one- the weed. It thrives nearly everywhere seemingly without effort. It diminishes the beauty of a garden and chokes out more desirable plants.   

Weeds of discontent thrive just as easily in our heart’s garden where they choke out the flowers of peace and lead to conflict and strife in our relationships. But we don’t have to allow them to remain.

Jesus lived in peace no matter how the world treated Him, how little sleep He got the night before or how He felt on a given day. He left each of us His own supernatural peace. But it is up to us to do our part to ensure it thrives. When He tells us, “Do not let your hearts be troubled,” it means we have a choice. Just as we tend our flower beds to keep them free of weeds, we need also tend our heart’s garden.  

T=      Thanksgiving- The first step is to remain focused on just how blessed we truly are. If we were given nothing else, the cross was enough. When our heart recalls all that we already have, it is less likely to feel threatened by external forces.

E=      Examine- We can’t eradicate what we don’t see. The simplest way to keep a garden weed free is regular examination. The Holy Spirit is at hand to help us examine our hearts and, through God’s healing power, remove any damaging seeds that have taken root.    

N=      Notice the good- Neither every day nor every person is completely good but there is good in every day and in every one. Train yourself to seek it out, especially in times of conflict. No matter who they are they were formed in God’s image. See with His eyes.

D=      Defense- Weed block and weed killer are great preventatives to unwanted garden growth. Regular time in the Bible and ongoing communion with God are poison to discord. Apply them liberally.  

Message for the Journey:

No gardener desires a flower bed full of weeds but it takes consistent effort to keep them at bay. If left unchecked, the tender flowers of harmony are easily choked out by weeds of discontentment. It doesn’t take a green thumb for a heart’s garden to flourish but it does require tending. With the help of the Master Gardener every heart can produce a harvest of peace. 

Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.  
Psalm 34:12-14

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