22 Mar 2016 Preparing for our future
by Mark McDonald
Each spring, the 501 is filled with signs of new life: spring peepers begin to sing at night, while the tufted titmouse sings joyously during the day; the dogwoods start to bud and bloom, while weeds start to sprout everywhere! Everything begins to show that the brown, dormant landscape is invaded by color and fragrances, and many people start some basic preparation of their garden spaces.
Most of the preparation that people do for their home gardens focuses on things that prepare for future growth: weeding, fertilizing, adjusting the soil, mulching. Then, seeds are planted and sprouted, all in hopes of providing a beautiful setting or sustenance in the future.
Spring is a great time to consider what we need to do to prepare for beauty and sustenance in our faith, too. Just like gardening, we have the opportunity to prepare for our future:
Remove the weeds. Just as with a garden, there are things that rob our lives of the space and nutrients that we need to grow in healthy ways. Weeds can be different for each person, and may include bad habits, unhealthy routines, misused skills or anything that keeps you from focusing on the things that matter more. Take some time to get rid of some weeds in your life so you have room for the things that God wants you to focus on. And remember that Jesus told us there were two things that mattered most: Loving God and loving others (Mark 12:28-31).
Fertilize and till the soil. Once the weeds are gone, it’s time to prepare the soil in your life. Take some time to move things around and add something that helps you grow healthy habits. Attending worship each week is a starting point, as is Bible study. Just as plants don’t grow in isolation, you should find others who not only share some of your values, but challenge you to dig deep to find those things that matter most!
Plant seeds and bulbs. Finally, good soil doesn’t produce anything if it’s void of something that can grow! Planting seeds and bulbs is a necessary part of growth, so find ways to plant seeds in your life. The best way to plant seeds is to interact with others and try out the things you learn as you share with others in worship and study. In other words, make your words into deeds by serving God through service to others. Get involved with a church ministry, volunteer to help others through a local shelter, jail, hospital or agency.
Remember the parable from Matthew 25:27-29, when Jesus tells us when we can serve God and others: serving those who are hungry and thirsty, welcoming the stranger, clothing those who need clothing and visiting those who are imprisoned. Planting seeds in that soil will bear fruit in amazing ways!
As you consider so many springtime rituals around your home and garden, why not also consider making preparations in your faith that will bring beauty and sustenance in your future? Remove the weeds from your life, dig deeper in your faith and plant seeds that change lives — yours and others!