For most of my married life I have enjoyed vegetable gardening. Not the multi-acre gardens I remember growing up on a farm in rural Conecuh County, Alabama, but a small, manageable plot that supplements our food source with delectable fresh produce. Harvests of green beans, yellow squash, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cabbage and the like satisfy both the palate and the need to connect with my ancestral heritage.
Gardening, be it growing vegetables or flowering plants, requires certain preparations and care to maintain and cultivate the desired result. Simply throwing some seed out on unprepared soil will yield little fruit. First the soil must be prepared, enriched, fertilized, tilled. Next the seeds must be planted at the proper time. Then there is watering, weeding, staking of tomatoes, fencing to keep out wild rabbits, and especially in the deep south, the perpetual battle against stink bugs, slugs, aphids, root rot, powdery mildew and even moles keep one quite busy! Growth demands intentionality, preparation, a lot of work, and prayer!
Our spiritual journey is much the same. We were designed to grow, mature, and produce fruit. Each plant begins with a small seed, yet with proper soil, water, sunlight, and nutrition they mature into a full-grown herb, flower, vegetable, tree, or shrub. For the Christian, these necessary components for growth include: Bible study, prayer, worship with fellow believers, Christian encouragement, fellowship, and accountability. Without even one of these elements our lives will be stunted and fruit productivity limited.
II Peter 3:17-18 (ESV)
You, therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen
God bless you all!