There is something incredibly rewarding about planting a garden, nurturing it, and enjoying the fruits of your own labor when it comes time for the harvest. Even if you don’t plant a garden that produces food, having a flower garden that you care for is a great source of both relaxation and accomplishment for millions of people around the globe. It’s also worth noting that there are some spiritual principles that we can learn from our gardening experiences.
If you have your own garden, you know what a rewarding experience it can be. Depending on the type and size of your garden, they can certainly be a lot of work. However, many people find great relaxation in working on their garden. Whether your garden’s purpose is to provide you and your family the food that you need or you plant a flower garden that provides some beautiful color to the outside of your home, gardening can be both relaxing and rewarding.
There are also several spiritual principles that we can learn from gardening. Probably because farming and gardening is one of the world’s oldest occupations, it’s a concept that is discussed at length in Scripture. God understands gardening. It’s worth noting that the first place that He designed for His creation to live in was the Garden of Eden in the Book of Genesis.
With that information in mind, it stands to reason that there are several Godly, Biblical principles that we can glean from gardening. God loves to speak to His people through their everyday activities. If you have a garden, think about some of these spiritual principles that you can learn from your own garden.
Principle 1: Preparation
Hosea 10:12-13 (ESV)
Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you. You have plowed iniquity; you have reaped injustice; you have eaten the fruit of lies. Because you have trusted in your own way and in the multitude of your warriors.
A successful garden doesn’t happen by accident. Again, it doesn’t matter if you’re planting an expansive garden that will produce various fruits or vegetables or a single flower bed, preparation is key. It starts with tilling the ground, getting the nutrient-rich soil that is several layers deep to the top. Then, you’ll need to remove the large, hard rocks that can stunt the development of your crops of choice.
Farmers who plant massive fields spend months preparing their ground for the seeds that they are going to sow in the future. The importance of having good ground cannot be overstated. You can’t just walk outside, put some small holes in the ground, plant a seed, and expect a harvest.
In the same way, our spiritual success requires some preparation. There are times where it seems like the preparation is tedious work. However, in the same way that a farmer doesn’t haphazardly throw some seed on the ground and hope for the best, our spiritual success requires a great deal of preparation.
In the same way that a tiller removes the hard levels of the outer soil, we can allow the Holy Spirit to break through the hard, outer layers of our own heart. Doing so allows God to plant the seed of His Word in good ground, creating an atmosphere in which it can grow.
Principle 2: Seed Selection
Mark 4:30-32 (TPT)
And he told them this parable: “How can I describe God’s kingdom realm? Let me illustrate it with this parable. It is like the mustard seed, the tiniest of all the seeds, yet when it springs up and grows, it becomes the largest plant in the garden. And with so many enormous spreading branches, even birds can nest in its shade.”
Have you ever looked at a seed catalog? Of course, you can order everything online now, so perhaps your seed catalog is digital. However, the fact remains that taking a look at a catalog of available seeds can give you a good idea about what you want to put in your garden.
However, there are two things to learn from the process of selecting seeds. First of all, the packets that the seeds come in usually have a picture on the front that shows what the seed can look like once it reaches its maximum potential. However, the seeds that come in the packet are hardly anything special to look at. Instead, they are muted colors, tiny shell-like items that don’t look like anything special.
Sometimes the things in our lives don’t look like they’re going to be anything special. It’s often easy to overlook the things that we consider “small” blessings because they don’t look like we expect them to look. However, those small blessings are a gift from God and have the potential to turn into something beautiful.
Secondly, seed selection is perhaps the most important aspect of gardening. For instance, if you want to plant watermelons, you don’t plant apple seeds. Why would you?! The seed that you sow directly impacts the harvest that you receive.
In the same vein, our spiritual lives will only produce a harvest that pertains to the seeds that we sow. If we fill the soil of our hearts with God’s Word, His Word will come from us. If we fill it with the things of this world, our harvest will reflect that.
Principle 3: Water
Matthew 5:6 (ESV)
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Preparing the soil and planting the right seeds is only part of the equation. Regardless of the type of seed that you put into fully prepared soil, water is a necessity. Obviously, your garden requires sunlight, but without water, it will quickly become a dried out, barren patch of soil that produces no harvest.
Similarly, our spiritual lives require water. In Ephesians 5:26, Paul says that we are washed by the water of the Word of God. In the verse we just read from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that when he thirst for His righteousness, we will be filled.
Make no mistake about it, your garden is thirsty. While you may plant the seeds during the mild temperatures of spring, you do so with the knowledge that you won’t be able to recover a harvest until the equally mild temperatures of fall? What happens between the season of sowing and the season of harvest? The harsh temperatures of summer.
Your garden will never survive the harsh temperatures of summer without adequate water. In similar fashion, our spiritual lives will never survive the heat of the trials that we all go through (1 Peter 4:12) if we don’t provide an adequate amount of water from the Word of God.
No gardener, regardless of their experience level would try to sustain a garden and expect a harvest without the regular use of water. Similarly, we can’t expect a spiritual harvest if we never apply the water of God’s Word (which contains the keys to His righteousness) to the soil of our hearts. The seeds won’t grow, and we will be left with nothing.
God loves to speak to His people through the everyday details of their lives. That’s probably why Jesus spent so much time talking in parables. When He was talking to fishermen, He presented spiritual truths in the context of fishing. When He was talking to farmers, He discussed seeds, harvests, and principles of gardening. The next time that you step into your garden, allow God to speak to you through your seemingly routine acts. He loves to spend time with you right where you are.
A Closing Prayer:
God, thank You for wanting to spend time with me. I know that in the chaos of my daily life, there are times where I can be a bit distant. I know that You long to speak to me where I’m at, even if it’s when I’m working in my garden. Help me to better prepare myself for You. Help me to remember to sow the right seeds and give me a constant thirst for Your righteousness. In Christ’s name, Amen.