Resources for the members of the United Church of God

Treasure Digest: Planning a Garden of Growth

You are here

Treasure Digest

Planning a Garden of Growth

Login or Create an Account

With a UCG.org account you will be able to save items to read and study later!

Sign In | Sign Up

×

When we plant a garden in the spring, we generally have an end result in mind that we are anxiously waiting for. Do you anticipate a bumper crop of beans, juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, fresh leaf lettuce or maybe fragrant roses?

As we view our spiritual garden, we must also ask, "What are the end results that I am anxiously waiting for?" We must carefully choose good seed, such as seedlings from Galatians 5:22-23 Galatians 5:22-23 [22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, [23] Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
American King James Version×
.

Soil preparation is important. Once I bought an inexpensive potting soil. Unfortunately, the company had not sterilized the soil. I had geraniums with weeds growing in the same containers. Each was vying for the nutrients that were needed for proper growth.

Many professionals encourage soil tests. These tests show what nutrients are needed in the soil for proper growth and productivity. As Christians preparing for a year of growth, examining our own soil content is extremely important (Matthew 13:1-43 Matthew 13:1-43 [1] The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. [2] And great multitudes were gathered together to him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. [3] And he spoke many things to them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; [4] And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: [5] Some fell on stony places, where they had not much earth: and immediately they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: [6] And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. [7] And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: [8] But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundred times, some sixty times, some thirty times. [9] Who has ears to hear, let him hear. [10] And the disciples came, and said to him, Why speak you to them in parables? [11] He answered and said to them, Because it is given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. [12] For whoever has, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whoever has not, from him shall be taken away even that he has. [13] Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. [14] And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which said, By hearing you shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing you shall see, and shall not perceive: [15] For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. [16] But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. [17] For truly I say to you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which you see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which you hear, and have not heard them. [18] Hear you therefore the parable of the sower. [19] When any one hears the word of the kingdom, and understands it not, then comes the wicked one, and catches away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. [20] But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that hears the word, and immediately with joy receives it; [21] Yet has he not root in himself, but endures for a while: for when tribulation or persecution rises because of the word, by and by he is offended. [22] He also that received seed among the thorns is he that hears the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. [23] But he that received seed into the good ground is he that hears the word, and understands it; which also bears fruit, and brings forth, some an hundred times, some sixty, some thirty. [24] Another parable put he forth to them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened to a man which sowed good seed in his field: [25] But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. [26] But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. [27] So the servants of the householder came and said to him, Sir, did not you sow good seed in your field? from where then has it tares? [28] He said to them, An enemy has done this. The servants said to him, Will you then that we go and gather them up? [29] But he said, No; lest while you gather up the tares, you root up also the wheat with them. [30] Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather you together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. [31] Another parable put he forth to them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: [32] Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. [33] Another parable spoke he to them; The kingdom of heaven is like to leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. [34] All these things spoke Jesus to the multitude in parables; and without a parable spoke he not to them: [35] That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world. [36] Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came to him, saying, Declare to us the parable of the tares of the field. [37] He answered and said to them, He that sows the good seed is the Son of man; [38] The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; [39] The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. [40] As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. [41] The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; [42] And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. [43] Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who has ears to hear, let him hear.
American King James Version×
). Do I have an acid attitude? Where am I spiritually undernourished?

Your spiritual garden plan will change from year to year, depending on what the previous year has brought. I would encourage you to draw your plan on a piece of paper, remembering the end results that you are anxiously waiting for. Prayerfully label the items that you need to remove: fear, manipulation, rejection, etc. This garden plan can also list activities, places and events that will be helpful for productive growth and harvesting.

We are still human, so remember to leave a corner of your garden for relaxation and fun. If this isn't planned, it might not occur.

Your plan can help you throughout the year; growth will be more abundant as you know what you are working for (James 1:22 James 1:22But be you doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
American King James Version×
; Philippians 4:9 Philippians 4:9Those things, which you have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
American King James Version×
).

As we meditate and repent from the past year's weeds that crept into our gardens (Galatians 5:19-21 Galatians 5:19-21 [19] Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, [20] Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, jealousies, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, [21] Contentions, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
American King James Version×
), we need to consider what we need for a maintenance program in our spiritual gardens.

God gives us each time to grow; He is a very patient God (Luke 13:6-9 Luke 13:6-9 [6] He spoke also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. [7] Then said he to the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why encumbers it the ground? [8] And he answering said to him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: [9] And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that you shall cut it down.
American King James Version×
). Use your time wisely for a year of great spiritual productivity!