I love spending time tending a garden and working in the yard. That’s one of the things I miss about being away from my home, that time spent digging in the dirt, mowing the grass and smelling the scent of that fresh dirt and newly mown grass. So, when a friend came over for supper during Spring Training, I got a little happy because he brought me a pretty houseplant with tiny white blooms. Here was my own little plant for the Summer and it would look so cute in the apartment. Then I wondered how I was going to get it from Arizona to Texas for the baseball season. We were flying to Texas on a plane, so I wasn’t going to carry it on with me. Phillip asked the clubhouse guy if he would bring it in the U-Haul with him to San Antonio, and he said he would. In the meantime, I tended that little houseplant. I watered it just right, gave it the right amount of sun, did all the things required to help it survive and bloom. It was looking really good, for a while. Towards the end of Spring Training though, that little plant started looking droopy and the blooms were beginning to drop off. I thought I had done all the right things to help it survive and look pretty, but it seemed like what I was doing wasn’t quite enough. When the time came to leave for Texas, I placed my plant in a box and set it in the U-Haul, hoping it would survive the trip. When we arrived in San Antonio, I got my plant, brought it to the apartment and took it out of the box. Yes, it had survived, but looked droopier than ever. I was determined to bring it back from near death. I took a pair of scissors and started trimming back the dead blooms. I pinched off the droopy leaves. Then I watered it and set it on a table near a window. I babied that little plant and within a week it was looking healthier. Within two weeks I could see tiny buds forming and then those delicate white blooms bursting out once again. I tended that little plant until it became full and healthy looking once again.
God tends to us in the same way. When we accept Christ and He is planted in our hearts, we bloom because our thirsty soul is quenched. At first we are eager to make our roots in this Christian life stronger, so we read the Bible and spend time with God. We tend our hearts and minds with constant prayer Then it seems sometimes the world starts making its way back in and we start to droop, our blooms fade, and we are traveling through a period of time where we are taking for granted what God has done for us. We begin to do what we think is enough for our Christian life to thrive, a little prayer here, a little Bible reading there. Our Christian life is placed in a box and when we have time for it we bring it out for enough nourishment to barely keep it alive, but God is determined that we live for Him. When He sees we are fading, He allows us to go through difficult times that will cut back our dying foliage and crave His Living Water. Christ’s roots in us become stronger as we allow the right amount of His Light to shine on us. We return to Him and bloom for Him once more.
As Christians it is so important for us to take care of and cherish what God has planted in us. The other day I was on my morning walk around the apartment complex and I saw an elderly gentleman spraying down his car with something, carefully wiping away the grime. I walked for almost an hour, and there he was still carefully wiping down every inch of that car. I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we all took care of ourselves the way that man is taking care of his car.” What I mean is, taking our sweet time when it comes to spending time with God and learning more about Him, wiping away our grime. Just like that man was taking the time to thoroughly clean his car, and like I am carefully taking care of this plant, I need to be spending more time tending to what God has graciously given to me.
He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. —John 15:2