Upon letting the roots of my newly purchased bare root rose soak in a bucket of water for approximately 24 hours, I decided to recruit my 11 year old son in helping me plant it. Although willing to help me out, my son was not keen on getting his hands too dirty. After all, his hands prefer Legos and videos games. Nevertheless, I figured he could use the sunshine and learn a thing or too in the process. After choosing the desired area of where I wanted to plant my new rose, we saturated the ground to make the digging easier while also testing the drainage of soil. My son and I then took a few turns plunging the shovel in the dirt till we reached the width and depth we needed. By this point, we were ready to transplant the bare root rose from being in the bucket filled with water to it’s permanent home in the ground. Because the ground was reasonably muddy, I put on pink rubber gloves to protect my freshly painted nails. Apparently, even I don’t like to get my hands too dirty!
I proceed to create a mound of soil in the shape of a pyramid within the hole so I could rest the rose on top of the mound while sprawling it’s roots out as best as possible for optimal growth. While holding the rose in one hand, or glove I should say, I used the other to pack the dirt around the roots as well as the dirt around the base of the rose till she was firmly secure. Overall, the process of planting our newly adopted rose was a success, but we sure did make a muddy mess.
Many days later, I reflect on how we as Christians often like the beauty of our Christian traditions and concepts much like we enjoy the beauty of roses or the idea of a lovely garden. However, we don’t usually like to be too inconvenienced by getting our hands dirty. It’s far easier to be comfortable in our faith journey or to be what I call “convenient Christians” than followers of Christ willing to follow Him all the way to our own cross and eventual resurrection. More often we prefer to stand around like my son and watch others get dirty for God. Or if we do take the plunge, we set limits on our love by wearing gloves so the depth of our devotion doesn’t stain our nails, alter our appearance, or even transform us.And yet, Christ’s devotion willingly took the depth of a few nails to remove our sinful stains with the hopes we’d be firmly rooted in His garden.
The weather is warm, the leaf buds are swollen with potential, and life is good. With only ten days till it’s officially Spring, my heart swells with garden joy! Little by little, as my frail back affords, I’ve been preparing my small urban garden for healthy abundant blooms. While raking fallen leaves and cutting out dead wood, my spirit rises knowing glorious beauty will manifest.
Similarly, separating the fallen and dead is what must occur in order for God’s kingdom to bloom in our hearts and on Earth both now and at the time of Christ’s return.
“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.” Matthew 6:10
There has to be a pruning of our hearts, a raking of our fallen leaves, and cutting off the dead wood taking up real estate within our hearts and minds. Anything that is not of Christ ultimately will be pruned and burnt up….How much more glorious if we allow Him to shape us into the ever-blooming rose bush He dreamed of when we were nothing but seedlings!
“People may build on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw. The day will make what each one does clearly visible because fire will reveal it. That fire will determine what kind of work each person has done.” 1 Corinthians 3:12-13 (God’s Word Translation)
The Master Gardener will prune our heart’s garden if we let Him…if we cooperate with His will being done in our hearts and homes rather than growing into a mess of an overgrown, out of control shrub! Although His pruning and preparation painfully cuts deep at times within our diseased and dying souls, His intentions are to manifest the beautiful design He dreamed for us when He planted us in His well-landscaped garden.
So this Spring, as you plan out, prepare, and prune a garden of your own, ask yourself: What is God, your Master Gardener, pruning in you? What needs to be cut out of your heart in order for you to manifest abundant blooms in His garden…in His kingdom? God wants to see you bloom. He wants to you to live in His ever-blooming love so that you can abundantly love others and truly live both now and forever with Him in His heavenly garden. In order to be ever-blooming though, you need to allow Him to prune the garden of your heart.
“And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.” Deuteronomy 30:6 (English Standard Version)