I like to garden. It’s a fun way for me to pass the time and to appreciate the food that I eat. Plus there is nothing better than carrots straight out of the garden rinsed in the garden hose. It’s delicious.
However, gardening is also a discipline for me. Every year I get excited about all the produce that I am going to receive this year. I drag out the old wheelbarrow, the shovel, maybe even a rake, and I get to work. I make beautiful mounds of freshly tilled dirt and I get all the seeds where I want them. The problem arises after the initial surge of energy has passed over. I’ll go two days without watering, and then three, and then a week, and then two. The weeds begin to suck the ground of moisture and, without tending to them, the tomato seedlings turn to withered hulls of their former selves, never producing tomatoes.
And then halfway through the season I wander out to the garden looking to reap what I have sown only to realize that my effort has been in vain. I worked so hard to get the ground right and then I let it all go when it came to the smallest of chores throughout the week.
In our faith lives, our Sunday school teachers and our moms and our dads all work so hard to raise us in faith. We maybe were even dragged to confirmation Wednesday after Wednesday so that the groundwork could be laid for what it means to grow in faith. We bust our tails getting everything ready and the seeds in the soil, but then the busyness of life takes over and we get distracted. Thirty years go by and we realize that we are in that garden without having taken anything to cultivate our faith – and we wonder why we are struggling, withered, and surrounded by weeds.
Vacation Bible School, and Sunday School, and Youth Group, and Confirmation are all great ways that we can do to help our kids and ourselves grow in faith. It also is not the “end-all, be-all” of our faith. Taking the time to sort through the bed, pull out the weeds, water our souls, and prune branches are all vital to growing healthy as Christians. And yet, most of us are like me when it comes to gardening. We work so hard getting everything started, and then wander out after half a year of neglect expecting great fruit only to find withered vines. So – how do you water your soul?