Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How Will Your Garden Grow?

Many people eagerly anticipate the New Year as their chance to make a fresh start and move in a positive direction, but not I.  About two weeks into the New Year I quickly realize that I am the same old person I was on December 31, and no calendar is going to change that!

This year I have prayed that God would renew my enthusiasm for writing and marketing my books, but even more that he would confirm his calling and revive my passion for ministry.  Yet life continues to throw one curve ball after another and I feel totally distracted from his purposes and my plans.  No doubt many of us in ministry feel the same, whether we are writers, youth ministers, senior pastors, or dedicated parents just trying to raise godly children in an ungodly world (the most important ministry for many of us).

With the early arrival of spring this year, I couldn't wait to get outside and enjoy some garden therapy!  More than the New Year, Spring fills me with a renewed sense of hope, particularly as I watch my flowers grow.  After laboring for hours to prepare and plant my flower beds with perennial seeds I had recently purchased, then dragging and spreading bags of mulch for a little added beauty and weed control, I realized how weary and sore I had become,  yet I had a great sense of satisfaction at having completed a task that will yield a great deal of pleasure and joy as the seeds germinate and the flowers begin to grow and eventually bloom. 

After my quiet time I went outside to water my flowerbeds and see if any new plants were breaking through the soil.  As I prayed for God to speak a word of encouragement and confirmation regarding my speaking and writing ministry, he began to paint a picture from my very own garden.  I began to see that growing a ministry and marketing books is very much like planting and tending my own garden.  Preparing the soil, sowing seeds, and mulching are hard work which leaves me weary and sore.  Watering, though not as difficult, is time-consuming but critical to the development of young plants which will eventually grow into beautiful flowers that produce pollen, nectar, and seeds to nourish the birds, bees, and butterflies that will delight me with their visits in the weeks and months to come.  Maintaining the garden by weeding and watering the flowerbeds will be an ongoing part of ensuring the beauty and fruitfulness of my garden.

Your ministry or calling is a gift from God, as is mine.  God has equipped us with the gifts and abilities we have so we can serve him and make a difference in the lives of the people around us, for his glory.  But just as planting and tending a garden will require hard work and an ongoing commitment to tend it if we expect it to yield flowers and fruit, so will growing our ministries and following the calling God has placed in each of our hearts.  Therefore, “let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up" (Galatians 6:9, NIV).

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