• Jack Selcher

Which Garden Will You Tend?

Like political kingpins, vegetable gardens have many enemies. I’ve battled slugs, cutworms, cucumber bugs, squash bugs, aphids, cabbage worms, harlequin bugs, zucchini worms, tomato horn worms, carrot weevils and carrot root flies. I’ve fought tomato blight, powdery mildew, brown spots, blossom end rot, sunscald, and anthracnose. I’ve struggled with weeds, frost, windstorms, and drought. Deer, groundhogs, squirrels and rabbits came uninvited to my garden table.

Producing spiritual fruit is even more challenging than harvesting homegrown vegetables. The parable of the sower describes several fruit-opposing forces (Matthew 13:1–23).

In Matthew 13:18–23 Jesus explains the deeper meaning of the birds eating up the seed sown along the path. The evil one snatches away God’s word sown in hearts (v. 19). That word makes absolutely no sense to them. It leaves no tracks in their hearts. They hear it May 29th. By May 30th it’s gone. The devil erases it. No comprehension. No obedience. No fruit.

God’s word falling on rocky soil illustrates those who joyfully receive the word initially. But then they turn back and go their own way when they encounter trouble or persecution (v. 21). The seed is sown May 29th. It germinates June 2nd. It looks healthy for a while. It never blossoms. It never produces fruit. Partial comprehension. Conditional following. No fruit.

God’s word falling among thorns describes some who don’t bear fruit. The worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth distract and preoccupy them. They never get around to the main things—loving God and others (v. 22). The seed is sown May 29th. It germinates on June 2nd. It grows for a while. But misdirected energy utterly crushes any chance of its bearing fruit.

The devil designed the world system to provide what the flesh wants and to resist what the Holy Spirit wants. It caters to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). Yielding to its temptations derails you from the straight and narrow track.

Finally, to bear spiritual fruit you must overcome one more formidable foe. Your sinful nature persistently resists God’s will. It’s self-sufficient, self-seeking, self-satisfied, self-directed, and ultimately, self-destructive. Your garden and your glory compete with God’s garden and God’s glory. You only have time to tend one garden. The choice is yours. #freechristiandiscipleshipresources #freechristianleadershipresources

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Photo: File:Peasant in the vegetable garden.JPG - Wikimedia Commons

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