“And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.” (Woodstock by Joni Mitchell, recorded by Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young)
That’s what I need to do – get back to the garden and pull some weeds. The recent rain has refreshed everything, and the weeds are taking full advantage of it. It’s a wild world out there. All efforts to domesticate the yard are thwarted by the natural order of things. It’s a constant battle against thorns, thistles, and unwanted vegetation. (Gen. 3:18)
Some time ago, I let nature take its course, and the backyard became an overgrown mess for a few years. The woods were encroaching too far up toward our house. We got to the point we’d open the back door, get overwhelmed by the sight of it, and just close the door again. A neighbor came to our rescue and took it down to ground level again. It was a humbling experience, but I’ll be forever grateful for his help.
My work from that point forward was to restore and renovate what had been there before. It was like The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I’m still working on it.
But I can’t let that happen again. I have to be willing to see those weeds and do something about it quickly. Persistence is the key.
Jesus told the Parable of the Sower, which we find in Matthew chapter 13. This became very real to me when I was in Godspell during my senior year of college. In acting out that parable, I was the seed that grew up among the weeds and got choked out so that “no fruit” was produced. One night during a performance, the truth of it in my life hit me really hard. I was that plant being compromised by the world’s distractions.
Oh man. What happens when the Holy Spirit convicts you of something in a theater with a full house? You repent right there, pull yourself together and carry on, but you don’t forget it. I’ve even got a picture to remind me.
And the Lord is relentless to continue to remind me.
My garden is a physical reminder of my own spiritual condition. It’s a reminder of how easy it can be to lose my focus, taking my eyes off Jesus. I remember that the world bombards us daily with things that can potentially interfere with our walk with the Lord, and chokes out the fruitful life. We must be diligent in our confession of sin and repentance – relentless in weeding those things out.
To see Thee more clearly, Love Thee more dearly, Follow Thee more nearly.