I spent a few hours late this afternoon (as the sun set) preparing a new flower bed. This bed will become the home for heritage irises. These iris bulbs originally came from my grandmother’s garden in Baton Rouge. I dug the bulbs up from our rental property (our old homestead) and I need to get them into the ground. I think they’ll be happy in this particular corner of the yard. It’s a low spot – it gets plenty of moisture. But the soil is not very rich.
First, I had to clear the spot of grass. The Bermuda grass in our yard is being overtaken by the St. Augustine from the neighbors yard. These competing ground covers challenge me with their interwoven roots and runners. I used a combination of tools to loosen the soil – relying heavily on forks and cultivators to break up the sod and free the roots.
Realistically I have to accept the fact that despite my best efforts I was unable to clear all of the tenacious grass from the new bed. Also, since the bed is surrounded by healthy lawn, there will be perpetual encroaching on all sides. It is unreasonable to presume that the new bed will miraculously submit to my intentions and foster only irises, rejecting grass and weeds. I can expect to spend more time in the future continuing the battle against persistent but unwanted intruders.
I have been preparing my mind for understanding the Word. I have tried to clear out the entangled thoughts that crowd my brain. As an adult, we tend to be busy with all of life’s activities. Work, meals, children, bills, housekeeping, relationships….everything that needs a piece of our attention can take peace away from us. And even when we’ve put a stake in the ground and declared territory (morning prayer, evening devotionals) busyness encroaches and threatens our peace, like persistent grass roots that lurk in the deepest parts of our inner self.
First we must prepare the soil -clear all that is currently choking the ground, consuming space needed for the Word. Then we must receive the seed. If the soil is not fertile and ready, the seed will wither and die. Then we must nurture the seed so that it grows. Water and nutrients are our thoughtful consideration. This leads to understanding. The crop we produce is multiplied beyond measure.
Do not feel selfish when you defend your quiet time, your time for prayer, your time for meditation and introspection. This is not something you are doing for your own sake but for the sake of all who will benefit from the fruit you bear. You are obliged to prepare the soil and tend your inner garden.
Put it on your list of things to do today. “Prepare the soil.”
Father, let us take the time to clear our minds of all that distracts us from You and Your Word. Help us turn away from life’s demands, knowing that we can trust You to tend to those things while we put our focus on You. Prepare our minds, opening us up to the richness that you share. Free us from entanglements that choke out your seeds. Plant your seeds in the best parts of us and let us make tending Your Word part of our routine. Your Word will grow in us by our faith, and will multiply bearing fruit for many. Help us to be fruitful and spread Your Word according to Your will.
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