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Gardening helps character grow

Sunday, April 12, 2009 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 4:49 p.m. CDT, Monday, June 8, 2009

Growing up in Detroit my Dad taught me the value of crop growing and gardening, a trade that was passed on to him by his father in Georgia. Every year he would require me to dig up the garden. I did not like it at all. It truly was a back-breaking experience as I turned the soil upside down.  I felt alone as my only friends seemed to be the untilled garden, the steel shovel and the blistering heat of the sun.  

Our backyard garden was full of yellow dandelions, trick weeds and many little rocks that needed to be removed. Today, I can still hear my daddy saying, “Now, Kim you make sure get every weed and rock, cause if you don’t the garden will die.” So, I worked vigorously to make sure that the garden soil was completely free from everything that would hinder its future growth.  Although it was a hard job, it was an encouraging and practical life lesson for me as a young Christian man being raised in the big city. God desires that I recognize that He is the Master Gardener of my eternal life and salvation from sin. He is the source of all spiritual growth and blessings.  John 15:1 says, “Jesus is the vine and my Father is the Gardner.”  

Our Christ-like character must be liberated from the unholy crabgrass and those worthless weeds of life such as, negative thinking, impure thoughts and selfish pride.  Those dandelions of sin cause unproductive styles of living where Godly growth can not take root. As my dad reminded me, if all the weeds are not pulled out of the garden it would die.  The same for you and me — if we do not allow the Master Garden to plow out and prune back the wild flowers of sin within us, we too will die spiritually.  John 15:2 says, "Every branch in me that does not bear fruit He takes away and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”

The garden of our heart is where sin can take up residency and overtake the Holy vegetables (character) of Jesus Christ.  Let this be your season to weed out of your life and spiritual journey the unhealthy things that cause you to sin. We have at our disposal the shovel of salvation that uproots sin, and with God as our Gardner providing spiritual rain, joyful sunshine and a rich soil full of the Holy Spirit feeding us everlasting nutrients.

Let’s not fool ourselves. We can not grow on our own, unless we are connected to Jesus Christ the true vine. John 15:5 says, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing.”  

Stay connected to the Jesus Christ.  Abide in Him, and your Godly garden can yield a wonderful harvest filled with produce that feeds your soul and those who hunger for hope and salvation.

My dad was right when he said, “make sure you get all the weeds and rocks out of the garden, cause if you don’t they will kill garden, and no harvest will come.”  The great blessing for our family was when we ate from the garden. Those turnip greens, string beans and bright red tomatoes were so good, and digging up the garden became a lost memory.  The Master Gardener has in His a glorious crop and a host of spiritual fruit and Holy veggies such as, love, goodness and kindliness for us to enjoy.  It's time to partake.  

Major K. Kendall Mathews is the regional coordinator for The Salvation Army.


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Comments

kim mathews May 10, 2009 | 7:32 p.m.

Hi Journalist K.K.

Wow. God works in mysterious ways. We have been thinking of a way to harness the energy of the young boys (cubs scouts) at the corps. Some of these young boys are so angry and are presenting a lot of problems for the volunteer group leaders. Your e-mail was God sent. I passed it on to the leaders and suggested that we try gardening as a means of getting the kids to focus first and then work with them on life skills using gardening to accomplish our spiritual and physical goals. The kids had a ball. They cleared the flower beds in front of the corps, pulled weeds, played with worms (ugh), planted annual flowers that the leaders donated, learned the difference between annual and perennial plants and much more.. Thank you so much for inspiring our spring garden project through your testimony..

Love to you and the Family,
Jackie

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