LifeLink Devotions (Click here for podcast)
Monday, March 7, 2022
Soon the garden shops will be bursting with plants for the upcoming gardening season. People will be anxious for the last of the snow to melt so they can begin preparing ground for the planting of all their fruits and vegetables. There’s a lot of work to be done to prepare to produce a harvest.
I remember the year we changed a portion of our back yard into a garden. First, we skimmed off the grass and weeds that were growing in the spot where we wanted the garden located. Then, landscape timbers were dug into place and stacked two or three high so the garden would be slightly elevated. Then black dirt was hauled in and spread inside the box. Fence posts were installed so the garden could be enclosed to protect it from all the rabbits we have in our woods. Final soil preparations and fertilization were done, and then we were able to plant. It was great feeling to watch all of the work begin to grow and develop into something that bore fruit. It took great patience and constant nurturing, but the harvest was worth it.
Ephesians 4:11-13 “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.“
Being a gardener and being a pastor are similar. The church is the ground in God’s yard that needs landscaping. Jesus Christ has appointed some master gardeners to oversee the work. Their job is a long and difficult one that requires much patience, but the harvest is worth the effort. One thing that makes the process easier is when the ground cooperates. We are the ground of the Holy Spirit, and He is working to produce fruit in our lives. We need to cooperate with Him and His gardeners.
First, He has to skim off all the grass and weeds that are growing in our lives where the fruit needs to grow. When God speaks to us through our gardeners, and when they bring in the skid steer to slice off all the growth that doesn’t belong there, let them work. Listen to the truth they speak. Follow the advice they give. Submit to their admonitions and the rebuke of sin. Grass and weeds are like sin, and they don’t produce much of a harvest that benefits us. Let them help you take it away.
Let the gardeners help you elevate your life above the rest of the environment. That means they will have to put boundaries in place. Every life needs boundaries. There is the greatest freedom within the framework of God’s will. The gardeners want you to rise above the rest of the world around you.
Be thankful for the rich soil of God’s Word the gardeners bring to your life. Let it become the topsoil of your life. Keep it fertilized with prayer and personal Bible study. Don’t add anything to it that would diminish its richness. Keep it soft through constant cultivation. Weed it often. Water it regularly. Take care of the soil and there will be a bountiful harvest.
Assist the gardeners in putting up fences around your life that will protect your crop of righteousness from the enemies who would destroy it. Let the fence be large enough and strong enough to stop a lion, for there is one who is stalking you and seeking to devour you. Let the fence be tight enough to stop the small pests who don’t take big bites, but who through consistence persistence will ravage your plants and limit your harvest. Guard your garden from any and all enemies that will destroy it.
After all this has been done, and the gardener plants the seeds in your soil, nurture every plant in your garden so that it grows to full maturity and produces a harvest. The gardener will still be working to keep the garden free from weeds, and to provide water and fertilizer, but you are responsible for the growth of the seed and for the harvest it produces. You decide how the soil, water, fertilizer, light, and seed all combine to produce a crop of righteousness. You choose what kind of work your harvest will accomplish. You decide whether or not you will cooperate with the gardener in becoming prepared for works of service. You decide if you will become mature and attain the whole measure of the fullness of Christ, producing a bumper crop of righteousness and good works.
The gardener can only do so much. He is working hard to prepare you and equip you. What kind of harvest will you produce?