Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Spiritual Lessons From The Garden

For those of you who know me personally, you probably know that I've started contemplating the idea of learning to be a green thumb early this year (I say 'contemplating' because I have very little gardening experience). So I started planning for my gardening mission, determining what I needed for my lifeless front & back yards, including plants, tools and fertilizer to buy,
when I would arrange time to do the work. After getting advice from experienced gardeners with some important considerations such as soil quality, how much sun the area gets and what style landscape I wanted, plant selections, I started this wonderful journey!

To my pleasant surprise, in the last few months, I've not only learned the skills at planting, growing and tending the garden, I've also learned spiritual lessons from the Scripture along the way, with the parallels of different phases of gardening like weeding, planting and harvesting etc. Because of that I have found great joy in gardening as I identify with these lessons as I plant and nurture my own garden.

The followings are some spiritual lessons to be learned from working in the garden.

(1) Weeding
Weeding was the first ever activity I had to engage in when I started tending my front and back yards. Throughout the years because of lack of care, we had accumulated a lot of ugly weeds which looked awful and simply dis-pleasing to our eyes. That was originally one of the main reasons why I had determined to start the garden project. I simply could not stand the weeds anymore :p

So as I pull the weeds, which are the most prolific of all vegetation in the garden I am often reminded of my toxic thoughts. It has been said, "Weeds never sleep." They are like sins and don't take any nurturing or care to grow. They will overtake us unless their roots are yanked.

How lovely the soil looks without the presence of weeds. And yet we all know that within a matter of a few weeks, the weeds will always come back. Similarly, there are 'small weeds' that grow in our hearts, and we are unaware of them until they come back. Like toxic thoughts, weeds can creep into our lives when we don't pay attention to it.

(2) Planting
When planting from seeds, it's essential to know the exact depth to put the seeds in the good soil. If they are planted to deep, there won't be enough water to soften the shell. But if they are too shallow, the birds can easily find them and eat them. In the Scripture, there was a parable that talks about the sower who sows the seed, and the seed being the word of God. It's important to plant the word of God in our heart with the right attitude. Otherwise it would be too shallow or too deep, where the seed will either be taken away or not having enough nourishment to produce a good crop.

(3) Harvesting
Since I am new in this 'green-thumb' gardening journey, I can't say I have had a lot of experience of seeing the wonders of harvesting yet. But I can imagine even with my limited experience of growing plants, if the conditions are not right, they won't grow to maturity (and yes I had a couple of pot plants that died in the summer months due to lack of water and strong heat). So it is with our Spiritual walk. We have the responsibility to prepare our hearts, and plant the healthy thought pattern in our mind.

Another important consideration is the type of seeds that we sow into the soil of our hearts, as it determines the kind of crop we will get. Bad seeds in our lives include things such as toxic thoughts, unforgiveness and hatred etc. On the other hand,
good seeds will build up our spirit, and this is like sowing into the soil of our hearts. These good seeds in our lives include being kind to yourself and others, and being grateful for what you have and reaching out to help others in need etc.

As is my experience, it is never too late to begin to learn gardening, and also work in your spiritual  garden. There is a plentiful harvest, and fertile soil out in the world that we can make an impact to. Are you willing to bless others through your garden?

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