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To Till or not to Till

By Kathy Schultz
Staff Writer Gardening had never been my passion. I had left the yard work to my husband, but now I found myself in charge of the yard, as he had gone home to be with the Lord. The quickest way to solve that problem was to do nothing other than cut the grass. After all, we had lived here a while and the flowers and shrubs were already planted.

Spring came and the magazines began showing beautiful yards. Flowers were on sale everywhere you went, even at the grocery store, and they were beautiful. I remembered that my yard used to look a lot nicer. I must be honest, the yard never ever looked like the pictures in the magazines. Noticing that a few plants had died, and with a little prompting from my daughter, I found myself eager to garden. I could just replace those plants and add some new ones. This couldn't be too difficult. I could do this. Furthermore, a lot of my friends gardened and enjoyed it.

I purchased the flowers and got out the shovel. This was going to be fun. Little did I know! The soil was hard as concrete. No one told me that you needed to prepare the soil for planting and/or keep it in good condition. These plants needed a hole. You could not just lay them on top of the soil and expect them to survive. With a lot of effort, I finally got one hole dug. My daughter and I decided to add the fertilizer, to water, and to pray. Possibly these flowers would survive.

God didn't audibly speak, but in my spirit, I heard Him say, "Child, you're like this ground. If you neglect Me, you too will become hard." I thought about this. It wasn't like I did anything to the ground. I had just neglected it. I hadn't thrown trash in it. The problem was I had not done anything to it! I spoke with a friend who is an avid gardener, and found out from him that at least once a year the soil needs to be turned and the fertilizer added.

Farmers know that after the harvest it is time to begin preparing for the next one. They don't wait for planting time to till the soil and add the fertilizer. We should do the same with our lives. We need to spend time with the Lord, letting Him till our mind. Praying, listening, and reading God's Word are part of the process. When we come to a problem, we can't expect to see God's answer if we've never spent time with the Lord. In fact, we probably wouldn't even know to go to God if we weren't prepared to do so. Preparation gives us the opportunity to help others.

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have (I Peter 3:15).

Next year the garden will be prettier as I plan to spend the fall preparing the soil for the spring. Maybe you, along with me, can spend this day with God preparing for the future. There are many Scriptures about the soil, but this one is a favorite. May this be true in your life and may your life be full of God's love and joy.

And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God (Ephesians 3:17-19 New Living Translation).

PS: Some of my flowers made it. That was due to prayer and God's grace. I know they would have done much better had I prepared the soil. Thankfully, I can start now preparing for next year's garden.

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